Twice annually, Google has made it a point to produce information about government inquiries. Most often, these inquiries are for private individual data or to remove particular bits of content from the web. Google claims there are two reasons behind this release of data. First, Google says it highlights the need to reform present privacy rules. Second, it is a move in the direction of transparency of information release. Article resource: Government requests for user data on the rise, says Google
Raw data exposed
The Google Transparency Report figures show that the United States Government put in a ton of requests. On 11,057 accounts, the U.S. Government put in 5,950 inquiries for private user data. That is a 29 percent increase to 4,600 inquiries. Google complied "wholly or partially" with 93 percent of these inquiries for information. There were also 92 inquiries for information removal covering 757 pieces of content. Google complied with 63 percent of these. That is a great number. The Canadian government made 50 information inquiries covering 75 accounts, the Mexican government made 48 information inquiries covering 73 accounts. You are able to see all government inquiries. The Google Transparency Report page has them.
What Google does to comply
Anything a government finds offensive or has to do with police force investigations’ personal information is usually asked to be taken down by Google. Anything legally executed and done within Google Terms of Service will be complied with by Google. In each country, these requests are handled differently. The type of request is not released by Google. Still, some other companies do release this information. Verizon Wireless gets 90,000 information requests yearly. Of those, 65,000 are court-ordered, warranted requests while the others are emergency inquiries.
Questioning the ECPA
In 1986, the Electronic Communications Privacy Act was passed. All government access to electronic communications and information is regulated by the 25 year law. The ECPA allows the government to request certain electronic communications for the purposes of police force. The Act has also been interpreted to shield the privacy of individuals. The Supreme Court hasn’t made a decision yet, although the ECPA has made it hard to determine e-mail messages. Several people want the regulation to be rewritten. The Digital Frontier Foundation is one of the groups that are hoping for this.