Google said it received 45,000 government requests for user data worldwide in the second half of last year, the most it has ever received in a six-month period since it started reporting the figures in 2010, according to the company’s latest transparency report. The company received 44,943 requests in the first half. Specifically, Google received 45,549 requests, concerning about 74,073 accounts. The company responded to 60 percent of the requests.
Google said it was not surprised to get so many requests, since more people are using more of its services. For example, Gmail had 425 million active users in 2012; this number jumped to over 1 billion in 2016. Also, digital evidence has increasingly become part of criminal investigations. Google does not answer all data requests but assessed them in terms of validity.
Cross-border requests for data continued to account for most requests, with over 31,000 in H2 coming from outside of the US. Google said the high number showed the need for an improved international framework around digital data. It currently takes 10 months to process a request under the US under the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT), a long time for investigators to wait. This can lead to a chaotic and patchwork system that sometimes do not respect user rights.
Google believes this should be addressed by new agreements, after a conversation including a broad group of stakeholders, such as law enforcement and national security perspectives, as well as citizens, civil society groups and providers of information services that cross national borders. “This discussion will raise difficult questions about the scope of government surveillance powers, the extent of digital jurisdiction, the importance of rapid investigations, and privacy rights in the internet age—fundamental issues that can’t be adequately addressed by courts using antiquated legal standards or by governments acting in an ad hoc fashion,” Google said. The company added that it looked forward to sharing more thoughts and working with relevant stakeholders to craft viable and lasting solutions.
Every day we send out a free e-mail with the most important headlines of the last 24 hours.
We welcome comments that add value to the discussion. We attempt to block comments that use offensive language or appear to be spam, and our editors frequently review the comments to ensure they are appropriate. If you see a comment that you believe is inappropriate to the discussion, you can bring it to our attention by using the report abuse links. As the comments are written and submitted by visitors of the Telecompaper website, they in no way represent the opinion of Telecompaper.
We have been keeping professionals in the telecoms industry up-to-date since 2000. Telecompaper is a well respected, independent research and publishing company focussed on the telecommunications industry.
3995 AA Houten
Phone: +31 30 6349600
Fax: +31 30 6349699
© 2000 - 2017 Telecom.paper BV. All rights reserved.
Telecompaper is a trademark of Telecom.paper BV. No part of this site can be reproduced without
the expressed permission of Telecom.paper BV. Our General Terms and Conditions can be found here.
Terms and Conditions