Google has started charging law enforcement agencies for data requests, with the fees ranging from $45 to $245 depending on the data requested. The move comes in a bid to offset the cost that the company is incurring to comply with the increasing number of users' data requests from various government agencies.
Google is charging law enforcement agencies $45 for a subpoena, $60 for a wiretap, and $245 for a search warrant. The company has sent a notice with the pricing to all government agencies. It also notes that it could charge extra for more complex data requests and situations.
Records from 2008 show that Google charged for legal requests but has not charged anything for data requests for years now. The federal law allows private companies to charge government agencies for data requests.
In the first six months of 2019, Google received more than 75,000 data requests worldwide, with 1 out of 3 requests coming from the United States.
Al Gidari, a lawyer who has represented Google and other companies for years, said that the fees could help offset some of the costs associated with complying with legal data requests from government agencies. He also noted that the cost of doing wiretaps and responding to search warrants is high, though Google is only charging $60 for a wiretap order. The move might also act as a deterrent from "excessive surveillance" by government agencies.
It is likely that other companies will also follow Google and start charging government agencies for data requests.
Source: NY Times