Google: Government surveillance inquiries 'spiking'

So much for anonymity. Google’s latest twice-yearly Transparency Report reveals that government takedown and monitoring requests are skyrocketing.

The report, which focuses on the first half of 2012, says that Google received a whopping 20,938 inquiries from governments around the world, regarding 34,614 accounts. In the grand scheme of things, that’s really not that many, but in terms of surveillance, it’s mindboggling. Heck, only three years ago, the number was just 12,539 inquiries. Keep in mind that these requests only apply to Google as well – this isn’t even accounting for Microsoft, Apple, Dropbox, or the world’s myriad ISPs.

The number of inquiries have been on the rise for years now, but sometime around last year, something funny happened: the previously steady rise in government monitoring jumped from adding 1,000 inquiries a year to adding 3,000 a year.  Takedown ‘requests’ spiked, too.

We try to stay optimistic, but there’s really not much good news to go around. Censorship takedown requests look relatively small at first glance, with only 1,791 requests received. Unfortunately, it turns out that those requests applied to around 17,746 pieces of content, and we’re willing to bet that just about every bit of that content has disappeared since then.

We’re sure that a certain of amount of that was justifiable, but you’ve got to wonder how much legitimate free speech got swept away in the process. We’d also love to hear which governments were responsible for most of the takedowns. Back in June, when Google’s previous Transparency Report was released, they noted that it was ‘troubling’ that many of the requests were coming from “Western democracies not typically associated with censorship.”

Source: Google | Via Huffington Post

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

Twitter rules will cause Tweetro to launch paid Windows 8 app

Next Story

Microsoft reveals plans for Xbox 360 Black Friday sales

7 Comments

LAMj said,
Title should be corrected:

"Google: Government surveillance inquiries 'spiking' and we gladly comply"

What else are they supposed to do? Grow up kid.

LAMj said,
Title should be corrected:

"Google: Government surveillance inquiries 'spiking' and we gladly comply"

its illegal if they don't comply!!!!!! patriot act

LAMj said,
Title should be corrected:

"Google: Government surveillance inquiries 'spiking' and we gladly comply"

Actually they don't. If you took the time to actually look at the statistics for government removals (http://www.google.com/transpar...vernment/?metric=compliance) you'd see that they will not comply with all requests.

However, that doesn't mean they have free reign over what they can or cannot remove. If the request is legit, they have to remove the content BY LAW. So don't blame Google, blame the lawmakers in whatever country you come from.

It's worth noting that Google isn't some kind of government shill here, Microsoft et al will also deal (and comply) with plenty of government requests. The only difference is that Google publish their statistics.

Commenting is disabled on this article.