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Google Report Shows Governments Want More Private Data 89

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the hungry-hungry-government dept.
judgecorp writes "The latest Google Transparency Report, which tallies the number of times personal data is requested from Google, shows that governments are becoming more inquisitive than ever. Requests for user data have gone up by 70 percent since Google started these reports in 2009 — but the report shows Google is getting better at saying no: in 2009 it complied — fully or partially — with 76 percent of requests, and that figure is now down to 66 percent." This report is the first to feature requests broken down by the legal process used.
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Google Report Shows Governments Want More Private Data

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 23, 2013 @01:38PM (#42671189)

    More like governments are overreaching asking for data they have no legal right to than ever before.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Runaway1956 (1322357)

      Patriot Act, dude. Gubbermint wrote themselves a blank check with that one. And, they've written more blank checks since then. Everything the Buggermint - I mean GUBBERMINT! wants is "legal". Don't confuse "legal" with "moral", or "ethical", or "right". If the buggerers in gubbermint ever figures out that something they want is illegal, they'll just write some new laws!

    • by SirGarlon (845873)
      And wasting Google shareholders' money asking them to answer requests that they are presumably not paying for.
    • The interesting thing regarding government's wishes is that whatever is illegal today tends to be legal tomorrow.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 23, 2013 @01:38PM (#42671199)

    I feel more allegiance to Google than the US government tbqh.

  • Little math here (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DJ Jones (997846) on Wednesday January 23, 2013 @01:39PM (#42671211) Homepage
    If the requests went up by 70% and the the amount of "no"s dropped by 20%. They are not "getting better at saying no" on a raw numerical basis.

    Think about it.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Came here for this.

      Old scheme, 100 requests filed, 76 requests filled.

      New scheme, 170 requests filed, 112 requests filled.

      Providing more information isn't the same as providing less.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      i think the amount of "yes"s dropped by 10% (66% complied with vs 76%)
      your point is still valid tho ...

    • by Firethorn (177587)

      Proportions still matter. Google is still expanding, people's use of google is still expanding, and government awareness of google is still expanding. I'd expect more responses. Whether or not 70% is in line with the above growth, I don't know. The drop in granted was only 10%, not 20%.

      Still, I can't help but think that as much as we might detest it, sometimes these requests for data is to prosecute valid, serious crime. Various forms of fraud and theft, for example. Cracking, perhaps.

      • Yeah, what AC said.

        I have zero problem with a police department doing actual police work, building a case strong enough to warrant reasonable cause, then actually getting a warrant. This is cool - it's what we have police for. Joe Schmuck is suspected of whatever, they find a couple of things on Facebook that indicates he might really be guilty, he's overheard making a couple comments in a bar, and those few things add up to, "Your honor, we believe that Mr. Schmuck is guilty of at least three counts of p

        • Warrants aren't the be all and end all of information requests. For example, in a civil suit you can't get a warrant for information, you file subpoenas for it. Some of the 'others' might just be for research purposes. Or the CIA asking for information.

          That Google rejects nearly half of the requests, at least initially, I like because it indicates that Google isn't 'rolling over'. Police officers and other agencies don't actually need a warrant to simply ask - they need one to force.

          For example, I could

  • Pity (Score:5, Insightful)

    by captbob2002 (411323) on Wednesday January 23, 2013 @01:43PM (#42671257)

    Pity that Google even has user's private data to give to governments

    • by ClintJCL (264898)
      how dare they!
    • Why is it a pity that Google is held to same legal standard as every other company or individual in the US?

      • by wvmarle (1070040)

        You misread the comment you replied to.

        Pity that Google even has user's private data [...]

        That's the key of that comment. Google has heaps of private data of heaps of users. And that's not just the e-mail you ask them to store on your behalf in a gmail account.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      If you didn't give them private data. They don't have it.

      Nobody to blame but yourself.

      (captcha:blamable That is so weird.)

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Wait a minute, consider what constitutes "giving" Google data. There's the obvious like using GMail or using their search engine, but they also have trackers all across the web. Unless you explicitly block Google's domains, they know a fair amount about what websites you visit (much less if you block their cookies, but Panopticlick [eff.org] showed that blocking cookies doesn't actually protect you from tracking very well). This, of course, doesn't only apply to Google, but Google's analytics is a lot more common tha

    • by sl4shd0rk (755837)

      You're probably giving Google permission (more likely, pleading) to use it somewhere in their EULA jibber-jabber you accept when hitting the OK button.

  • Requests are up 70%, but compliance is down to 66 percent which still means (napkin math) that Google is servicing 10% MORE requests in total.

    • by exploder (196936)

      So? Summary says they're "getting better at saying 'no'". Let me exaggerate the numbers a bit to make the point clearer: If 10 people ask me today and I say "no" to 5 of them, and then tomorrow 1000 people ask me, and I say "no" to 990 of them, then okay, I've said "yes" twice as many times today as I did yesterday. But I've most definitely gotten better at saying "no".

      • I knew a girl like that, she got better at saying no after college. So now only a small circle of her friends gets head constantly.
        • This is more like the same girl going on almost 2X as many dates and only giving head to 50% as opposed to 75% of them, then saying she's become a more discriminating lover.

  • by GodfatherofSoul (174979) on Wednesday January 23, 2013 @01:51PM (#42671371)

    I'm not talking about the lip service. I'm talking about what people actually do. I have a placeholder facebook page (not an active user) and I regularly get spammed with activity updates from "friends." People seem to have no hesitation about what they post. And, I don't just mean kids. Until people show they care, it'll just get worse.

    • The younger generations do not view privacy in the same light as previous ones. It's just not something that is important to them anymore, mainly because they never had it to begin with I suppose.
    • by Qzukk (229616)

      I'm not talking about the lip service. I'm talking about what people actually do.

      What the fuck does "what people actually do" have to do with anything? It's already been shown that "reasonable expectation of privacy" has absolutely nothing to do with what human beings actually expect in any given situation, so why does it matter what we do when the government will decide that privacy means whatever is convenient for them.

    • People look at me weird when I make any attempt to explain what Facebook does with their data. People over the age of fifteen seem to forget that very recently they did stuff for which they would be embarrassed today. Prepubescent children do a lot of weird, disgusting things. People over the age of 20 forget that they were freaky-ass zit-faced punks very recently, and that the conduct that seemed so amusing a couple years ago would be very embarrassing today.

      But - they continue to post all manner of stu

      • by wvmarle (1070040)

        Ah yes, the right to be forgotten. It's impossible to have stuff forgotten these days.

  • Despite the appearance of the fulfilment rate going down, if you do the math, since requests are up 70%, Google is still supplying a little over 20% more private data than they were in 2009. It would be nice to have the exact numbers or percentages of partial vs. full requests AND how much information is requested on average. These statistics really do not shed much light on anything. For example: A full request compliance could be as innocent as your GMail account name. A partial request compliance could
    • by plover (150551)

      While the statistics are indeed vague, we are meant to understand that Google is scrutinizing each request harder. But let's look at the potential causes for them to say "no":

      • Improper request using an official process - invalid warrant, unclear requests, etc.
      • Overbroad legitimate request: "We need a list of everyone on Google+ who has the state of TX in their address line."
      • Technically unable to comply: the data could have been purged before the request was made
      • Illegally unwilling to comply: they wanted tax
      • and they don't even accept requests from China

        You missed the whole "Google pulls out of China" thing?

  • Move along - nothing to see here. It should be obvious to anyone who stops and thinks, for even a brief moment, that as more people move more and more of their life online that there will be more requests to access that information.

    And when you break down the numbers it works out to about a hundred a day, and since Google doesn't specify that this is limited to Feds, one is forced to assume it includes all governmental bodies at all levels. As a result, I'm not horrified that the number is so high but rather I find it interesting that the number is so low.

    • by wvmarle (1070040)

      It probably does not include requests that Google is not allowed to talk about. Like stuff under things like that patriot act, and probably some more scary and secret(ive) laws you guys have.

      • Even so, the number is *still* pretty low considered on a per capita or per annum basis, even if it seems pretty big and scary spun as a $BIGNUM.

  • File this under the No Shit category and move on with our days shall we?
  • Requests for user data have gone up by 70 percent since Google started these reports in 2009 â" but the report shows Google is getting better at saying no: in 2009 it complied â" fully or partially â" with 76 percent of requests, and that figure is now down to 66 percent."

    unless this is worded poorly, Google is giving out even more info...
    if in 09 they had 100 requests and they complied with 76% that would be 76 records... but if requests have gone up 70% (170 requests) and its "down" to 66%

    • It's not "worded poorly", I think you and others posting similar drivel are being deliberately obtuse. It's quite clear they meant they now service a smaller percentage of the requests, any card carrying geek should know that comparing percentages is a very common method of analyzing growth. In fact I'm pretty sure that knowledge is not unique to geeks, I believe the average Joe reading TFS would also be fully aware that 90% of $1 is a lot less in absolute terms than 50% of $1M.

      In other words your postin
  • by s.petry (762400) on Wednesday January 23, 2013 @02:14PM (#42671693)

    At least for US citizens should be the fact that the US government has increased their requests by astronomical amounts, and is the majority of the requests. 21,389 requests for private data of 33,634 This makes it obvious that these requests are not all "give me info on John Doe", but rather "Give me info on Jane and John. Now to the point I start with: According to this [blogspot.co.uk], the US owns at least a third of all of the requests. You _should_ be asking why and not just shrugging off this information.

    No, we are not suffering from a rash of terrorism in the US (unless we go and rightfully call what the self proclaimed elites are doing terrorism). The Government is systematically shutting up anyone that observes their first amendment rights, especially those that begin to make headway with the sheople. OWS and the admitted collusion between DHS, FBI, TSA, Local Police departments, and Banks should be more than an obvious glimpse at how big the problem is. Better get to waking up the neighbors, this won't get better on it's own.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      sheople

      This word has only ever been used by those it describes. There has never been an exception.

    • by plover (150551)

      the US government has increased their requests by astronomical amounts

      A 33% rise over one year is high, but certainly not astronomical (at least not by any measure we used in astronomy class.) The question is who and why. Is it more requests from local governments, or more from the FBI? Are they asking about local drug dealers, violent felons, drunken frat party pictures, or is it "did Abdul al Tikrit search for a copy of PowerPlantBlueprints.pdf?" Have they moved on to asking "what church does he belong to?" or "what political party does he donate to?"

      I'd certainly like

      • by s.petry (762400)

        I'm pretty sure that this one has an obvious answer. "what political party does he donate to?" It has become public information that Ron Paul supporters were put on DEA and DHS watch lists labelled as potential terrorists. I won't even get in to how the media treated anyone not in the "program", which by the way even my 12 year old nephew could notice.

        I agree that we don't know what they are asking for, if that was your point. My point still stands, that we should be concerned and demanding clarity on w

        • by plover (150551)

          "what political party does he donate to?" It has become public information that Ron Paul supporters were put on DEA and DHS watch lists labelled as potential terrorists.

          That's an almost unbelievable accusation to simply take your word on. As it's public information, could you please post a citation for the Ron Paul donors ending up on a DHS watchlist? By citation, I don't mean an episode number of Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh or another Rupert Murdoch source, or an interview with a tea party fancier like Michelle Bachmann. I would need to see actual proof before I would believe such a claim. That proof would include the watch list in question, authenticated by the DHS, as

          • by s.petry (762400)

            Those accusations are all searchable. In fact /. had a hefty discussion due to the article which revealed the collusion between DHS, FBI, Police and Banks within the last few weeks. The slander and libel in media was apparent to anyone that watched any of the numerous specials on the government controlled media depicting OWS as a bunch of potheads that only wanted handouts and never wanted to work. Every major network had at least one "special report". Nothing is hidden if you actively search.

            For the Ro

  • Interesting on the face of it but without data by requesting agency it really doesn't tell us too much. Are most of the requests coming from municipal or state authorities? Federal? If the latter, which agencies? Short of a NSL they should have no legal problem providing that kind of summary info.

  • by ink (4325)

    What is the "other" category that the US government is using outside of search warrants or subpoenas?

  • While their compliance rate has indeed gone down, a 70% increase coupled with only 10 pp decrease mean that they actually comply with more requests. In fact, it works out to be a 15% increase in the total amount of requests that were complied with.

  • As a Russian, I like it.

  • Google Complies With Government Requests for User Data 88% of the Time

    http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/google-complies-government-requests-user-data-88-time_697551.html [weeklystandard.com]

  • Uhm, if the number of requests went up by 70%, and Google now complies with 66% of requests instead of 76%, that means they are now giving away 47.63% more data than in 2009.

  • Google only wants to advertise the data the governments want to take people's eyes off how much data Google is collecting on people. At least governments are some what accountable to us.
  • I find it interesting that the request for Canadian data is so low (38 requests, vs. the US at 8,438 requests [google.com]), and that even with this low request rate, the rate of compliance by Google for Canadian data requests is less than 25%...interesting indeed.

    Maybe our government just hasn't heard of teh google yet? :)

    • by s.petry (762400)

      Partially due to population, that should be obvious. Also, Canada is already a socialist nation where the people have a laughable amount of control. I don't remember ever seeing anything other than a small strike in Canada. OWS and Teaparty type movements simply don't exist. What on earth does the Canadian Government have to worry about with Canadian citizens, compared to the US especially. The NWO took over Canada fully about 40 years ago. Long live the Queen eh?

      • by CCarrot (1562079)

        Partially due to population, that should be obvious. Also, Canada is already a socialist nation where the people have a laughable amount of control. I don't remember ever seeing anything other than a small strike in Canada. OWS and Teaparty type movements simply don't exist. What on earth does the Canadian Government have to worry about with Canadian citizens, compared to the US especially. The NWO took over Canada fully about 40 years ago. Long live the Queen eh?

        Hmmm, you do seem to have some funny and completely inaccurate ideas about Canada.

        A socialist nation? Because we have publicly funded healthcare, and don't let people just die in the street no doubt. Oh, and a stable banking system, let's not forget that. Although we did have those pesky OWS demonstrations too, as I recall. In fact, it was Canadians that started them [wikipedia.org] (sad to say). And yes, our Unions are quite active, if maybe not quite as militant, as their counterparts are south of the border. You n

        • by s.petry (762400)

          I don't disagree with your statement "Seriously, it's time you guys brought your government back in line down there :)", in fact I quite agree. I was just pointing out some of the obvious reasons for the discrepancies. Canada AFAIK is a Socialist nation, just like the UK is a Socialist nation. It's not just "national health care", there are numerous factors involved. Canada (and the UK), at least to the US has been Socialist since the Monarchies dissolved.

          Media coverage for OWS in the US was abysmal for

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