Google Makes Public Government Data Requests For 2012, Will Others Follow Suit?

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Google Makes Public Government Data Requests 2012, Will Others Follow Suit?

Governments continue to ask Google for more data about its users, with more than two-thirds of requests in the U.S. made through a subpoena, which usually doesn’t require asking a judge for a search warrant.  Google is being transparent and it’s good for the company and its users to have the information.  If the largest search engine is disclosing information about how governments are requesting information, how will this impact other internet and social media companies?

Data Snapshot: (Number Of Government Requests For Information From Google in 2012)

July through December 2012

21,389 information requests for 33,634 users

January through June 2012

20,938 information requests for 34,615

Google has never publicly disclosed how governments obtain their data and most of these requests occurred without warrants.
According to Google’s data,  8,438 data requests occurred in which 68 percent were done via subpoenas. Under the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, subpoena for data are easier to obtain without a judge.

Google’s transparency on the issue is helpful for data analysts and privacy rights activists but more importantly it shows a sharp change in tactics to monitor digital activity over the last two decades.  Will Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and others follow Google’s lead and release their data too?  If requests grow year-over-year- as expected, they might have to.

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