It looks like the government is getting increasingly data-hungry. Google has updated its transparency report to include data from the second half of 2015, showing the company received a massive 40,677 data requests — its most ever in a six month period.
Of course, despite the increase Google says there has been some progress when it comes to government surveillance. For example, the company highlights the fact that the U.S. and European Commission recently signed on the “Privacy Shield” agreement, which governs the transferring of data between the U.S. and Europe.
On top of the Privacy Shield agreement, President Barack Obama recently signed the Judicial Redress Act, which basically basically gives non-U.S. citizens the same protections given to citizens under the Privacy Act.
Unfortunately, those things don’t erase the fact that government data requests are clearly going up. Not only that, but the number of times Google has handed over information has also gone up. While during the first half of 2016 it produced data 63 percent of the time, in the second half it produced data 64 percent of the time. Still, in general Google seems to have been a little more careful about handing over data to the government in recent years. In the second half of 2010, Google handed data over to the government 76 percent of the time.
As Google notes, there is still a long way to go in order to achieve ultimate privacy, especially when it comes to non-American citizens. Many argue that we shouldn’t just be looking to protect the privacy of citizens of the United States, but also setting an example for others and protecting the privacy of those who don’t live in the country or who are not American citizens.
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