As powerful and far-reaching as Google is, they still must submit to the U.S. government whenever Uncle Sam demands that the firm hand over user data. While that’s nothing new, what’s troubling is that government requests for user data have soared, doubling in the past three years.
From January through June of this year, the U.S. government has issued 10,918 user data requests to Google. That’s double the amount of requests from the same period back in 2009. Those 10,918 requests from the U.S. government between January 2013 and June 2013 accounts for 83 percent of the total user data requests they received during that time span. Google also received 2,691 user data requests from the Indian government. Germany was third with 2,311, and France placed fourth with 2,011 requests.
What’s more, Google has been effectively gagged, prevented from telling the public about the data that they’ve been handing over to the feds. Here’s what Google’s Richard Salgado, Legal Director, Law Enforcement and Information Security, had to say on the matter, via an official blog post.
“We believe it’s your right to know what kinds of requests and how many each government is making of us and other companies. However, the U.S. Department of Justice contends that U.S. law does not allow us to share information about some national security requests that we might receive. Specifically, the U.S. government argues that we cannot share information about the requests we receive (if any) under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. But you deserve to know.”
Google says that they have asked the world’s governments to “uphold international agreements that respect the laws of different countries and guarantee standards for due process are met.”
Is George Orwell looking more and more like a prophet, or what?