EU governments keep increasing requests to Google for private data

By EDRi · January 30, 2013

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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

Google Transparency Report shows rise in data requests (23.01.2013)

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