Google is out today with its latest Transparency Report where the company officially reports the number of requests it receives from government organizations to remove or hand over data. Today’s update to the report includes data for government requests from January 2012 to June 2012 and shows requests for access to user data have steadily increased.
For the United States, Google received 7,969 requests during the time period, of which 16,281 user accounts were specified. Google also explained that it sometimes received “falsified court orders asking us to remove content.”
This is the sixth time we’ve released this data, and one trend has become clear: Government surveillance is on the rise. As you can see from the graph below, government demands for user data have increased steadily since we first launched the Transparency Report. In the first half of 2012, there were 20,938 inquiries from government entities around the world. Those requests were for information about 34,614 accounts.
The report showed that requests around the world for the removal of content also continued to increase:
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The number of government requests to remove content from our services was largely flat from 2009 to 2011. But it’s spiked in this reporting period. In the first half of 2012, there were 1,791 requests from government officials around the world to remove 17,746 pieces of content.