Government data requests to Google continue to rise

Requests of all kinds have increased by more than 70 percent since 2009, the company says

By Zach Miners, IDG News Service |  Internet

"But that information can be just as intrusive and violate someone's reasonable expectation of privacy," he said.

For the second half of 2012, the United States maintained its strong lead as the country responsible for the most government data requests to Google with 8,438 -- up 6 percent from 7,969 requests during the first six months of the year. Trailing behind in second place, by a significant amount, was India, with 2,431 requests. The smallest number of requests during the past six months came from Denmark, with 34.

Google has been disclosing government data request figures since 2010.

Though the report primarily covers criminal matters, Google said it cannot be sure that a request relates to a criminal investigation. For example, the report would also include, say, an emergency request from a government public safety agency seeking information to save the life of a person in peril even though there may not be a criminal investigation involved.

Google noted that it may refuse to produce information or try to narrow the request in some cases. "Whenever we receive a request we make sure it meets both the letter and spirit of the law before complying," the company said.

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