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Wednesday, January 23, 2013
Google Receives More Requests From Governments To Unveil Users' Data

Google says it is fielding more legal demands from governments around the world seeking to learn more about the people using its Internet search engine, email and other services.

Google today released new data for the 'Transparency Report,' showing that the steady increase in government requests for Google's users? data continued in the second half of 2012. Google has been sharing figures like this since 2010.

In order to make the report even more informative, Google is now including a breakdown of the kinds of legal process that government entities in the U.S. use when compelling communications and technology companies to hand over user data.

According to the latest 'Transparecy Report' and from July through December 2012:

- 68 percent of the requests Google received from government entities in the U.S. were through subpoenas. These are requests for user-identifying information, issued under the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA), and are the easiest to get because they typically don't involve judges.

- 22 percent were through ECPA search warrants. These are, generally speaking, orders issued by judges under ECPA, based on a demonstration of "probable cause" to believe that certain information related to a crime is presently in the place to be searched.

- The remaining 10 percent were mostly court orders issued under ECPA by judges or other processes that are difficult to categorize.

User data requests of all kinds have increased by more than 70 percent since 2009, Google said. In total, the company received 21,389 requests for information about 33,634 users from July through December 2012.

The latest Transparency Report doesn't include new data on content removals. That's because Google decided to release those numbers separately going forward.

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