Google said Tuesday the number of government requests to hand over data
from users or to take down Web content rose in the first six months of
2012, extending a trend of recent years.
"This is the sixth time we've
released this data, and one trend has become clear: government
surveillance is on the rise," Google senior policy analyst Dorothy Chou
In the first half of 2012, Google received 20,938 requests
for data from government entities around the world related to 34,614
accounts, according to the US tech giant's semiannual Transparency
The number was up nearly 15 percent from the prior six-month period.
largest number came from the United States, with a total of 7,969 data
requests, Google said, adding that it complied in 90 percent of those
Second on the list was India with 2,319 requests, with
Google complying in 64 percent of the cases. The other top data
requesters were Brazil (1,566), France (1,546), Germany (1,533) and
Google said official requests to remove content
from Google pages spiked to 1,791 in the first six months of 2012, from
1,048 in the prior six months.
The figure includes court orders as
well as requests from officials or police, Google said. The largest
number of requests related to defamation, followed by privacy and
Other reasons for removal included impersonation, pornography, hate speech, copyright or national security.
Google said it complied with 52 percent of the requests in the latest six-month period.
also said that in some cases it received fake court orders for content
removal and that each case requires an examination of "the legitimacy of
Google began the report in 2010, updating every
six months as part of its effort to highlight censorship and promote
openness on the Internet.
"We think it's important to shine a light on how government actions could affect our users," Chou said in a blog posting.
we first launched the Transparency Report in early 2010, there wasn't
much data out there about how governments sometimes hamper the free flow
of information on the Web."
Chou said the report "is only an
isolated sliver showing how governments interact with the Internet,
since for the most part we don't know what requests are made of other
technology or telecommunications companies."
"But we're heartened
that in the past year, more companies like Dropbox, LinkedIn, Sonic.net
and Twitter have begun to share their statistics too," Chou added.
"Our hope is that over time, more data will bolster public debate about how we can best keep the Internet free and open."