US Gov't Data Requests Soaring, Google Says

Dennis Faas's picture

Google says it's facing a rapidly increasing number of data requests from national governments, and particularly the United States government.

At the same time, the firm says it still hasn't made any headway in its fight to show its users the information it's being forced to share.

Google says that, in the six-month period between January and June 2013, the United States government made almost 11,000 requests for information related to Google's users.

U.S. Government Makes Most Data Requests -- By Far

By comparison, the government of India -- the country that made the second-most data requests -- made approximately 2,700 user inquiries. The U.S. government's data requests accounted for nearly half the world total. (Source:

(Germany and France also made more than 2,000 data requests.)

Overall, this means Google faced twice as many data requests between January and June 2013 than it did over the same period last year. Google added that this remarkable total "only include[s] the requests we're allowed to publish."

Google says that, in most cases where data was requested, it handed over the information. That said, the rate varied by country -- 83 per cent of U.S. data requests were approved, while only 48 per cent of Germany's data requests were given the 'OK'.

It's a remarkable finding given the enormous amount of anger expressed in the wake of the Edward Snowden / National Security Agency revelations.

Clearly, the governments of the world -- and in particular, Washington, D.C. -- have not been fazed by the media storm surrounding that event.

Google Frustrated by Muzzle Laws

Google went on to express frustration with laws that block it from sharing information about these data requests with its many users.

"We believe it's your right to know what kinds of requests and how many each government is making of us and other companies," noted Google Legal Director, Richard Salgado.

"However, the US Department of Justice contends that US law does not allow us to share information about some national security requests that we might receive." (Source:

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