Google has released its Transparency Report, which gives an insight into the number of requests by governments worldwide for user data for the first half of 2014.
On Monday, Sept. 15, Google released its tenth Transparency Report which reveals that governments all over the world are eager to garner user data. Per the report, the demand in information on Google users by governments has increased a whopping 150 percent since 2009, when Google published details for the first time. The demand for information from H2 2013 to H1 2014 sees an increase of 15 percent worldwide. This percentage, however, is not reflective of the National Security Letters (NSL) and Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) requests.
The U.S. sees an increase of 19 percent in H1 2014 requests when compared to H2 2013. However, if taking into account the information demand from the government since 2009, there's a jump of 250 percent.
"This increase in government demands comes against a backdrop of ongoing revelations about government surveillance programs. Despite these revelations, we have seen some countries expand their surveillance authorities in an attempt to reach service providers outside their borders," revealed Google's Richard Salgado, Legal Director, Law Enforcement and Information Security.
Google also revealed that it had received close to 31,698 requests for data from the government in H2 2013, which had an impact on nearly 48,000 accounts. Google provided data in 65 percent of instances.
The maximum number of requests was made by the U.S. (12,539) and Google divulged user data for nearly 10,000 of those requests. Germany and France rounded up the top three with 3,338 and 3,002 requests, respectively.
Google also divulged that it had received 0-999 NSL for H1 2014, which is similar to 2009. Moreover, a maximum number of data requests were related to search warrants or subpoenas.
Salgado called for transparency in laws, adding that governments needed to preserve public confidence. While the Transparency Report details information requests from enforcement agencies, as well as court orders, Google is not at liberty to divulge the data pertaining to requests linked to U.S. national security.
Several tech companies like Google, Facebook and Microsoft have been trying to remain transparent within boundaries and restrictions by releasing information on data requests by governments worldwide in a bid to appease and reassure users. However, there are still stringent reins over the amount of data that can be published on such requests. Currently, tech companies can only report the figures ambiguously.
To view the information request figures of all the countries head here.