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EU governments keep increasing requests to Google for private data

30 January, 2013

This article is also available in:
Deutsch: Google Transparenzbericht: Zahl der Datenabfragen erneut gestiegen

According to Google's latest Transparency Report released on 24 January 2013, EU governments’ requests for users’ IP addresses, Internet browsing history, email communications or documents have dramatically increased during the last three years. Only between July and December 2012, the average number of such requests was over 1200/month, more than a third of all requests made by governments worldwide, and a 100% increase in the last three years.

“The information we hand over to companies like Google paints a detailed picture of who we are - from our political and religious views to our friendships, associations and locations. This information therefore merits the highest degree of privacy and security, and should only be accessed by third parties under exceptional circumstances. Governments must stop treating the user data held by corporations as a treasure trove of information they can mine whenever they please, with little or no judicial authorisation,” said Carly Nyst, Privacy International's Head of International Advocacy.

Google’s report also reveals that a large amount of requests was denied by Google for being too broad in scope, unlawful or incorrectly submitted. In their major part, the requests involve criminal investigations. Google states that a request is sometimes made for several types of data and, in some cases, the company notifies the user in advance that a government police agency intends to get information from their accounts.

"The alarming statistics in this latest Transparency Report serve as a reminder of the need for stronger national and regional privacy protections in relation to online communications. To this end, Privacy International, together with a coalition of organisations including the Electronic Frontier Foundation, will soon be publishing a set of International Principles on Communications Surveillance and Human Rights. We hope these principles will offer guidance to governments about the standards and safeguards that must be put in place to safeguard the right to privacy online," stated Carly Nyst.

Google Transparency Report

Google Transparency Report for second half of 2012 shows European government attempts to access private data at an all-time high (24.01.2013)

Estonian President: EU citizens should trust the state on data rights (24.01.2013)

Google Transparency Report shows rise in data requests (23.01.2013)

EDRi-gram: Google Transparency report: increasing trend of government censorship (20.06.2012)



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