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Google’s 10th Transparency Report Shows Government Requests are Rising

Google has released its 10th transparency report and revealed that government demands for data are continuing to rise.

Google’s latest transparency report covers demands from governments in the first six months of this year and the firm said that it includes demands made under the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) and through National Security Letters (NSLs).

FISA and NSL demands have increased by 15 percent during the six-month period, according to the firm, and by 150 percent over the 10 reports and the five-year reporting period. That’s globally. In the U.S., the figures for the same period are 19 percent and 250 percent.

Google legal director Richard Salgado conceded that the government has to fight crime and deal with threats, but must also be aware of the opposition to data demands.

“This increase in government demands comes against a backdrop of ongoing revelations about government surveillance programs. Despite these revelations, we have seen some countries expand their surveillance authorities in an attempt to reach service providers outside their borders,” he said.

“Governments have a legitimate and important role in fighting crime and investigating national security threats. To maintain public confidence in both government and technology, we need legislative reform that ensures surveillance powers are transparent, reasonably scoped by law and subject to independent oversight.”

The report shows that the U.S. makes the most demands for Google users’ data, and Google said that it made 12,539 requests that affected some 22,000 accounts. It added that it provided data in 84 percent of cases.

In the U.K., it said there were 1,535 requests covering 1,991 users or accounts and Google provided data for 72 percent of the requests. µ

This article was originally published on the Inquirer.

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