The new Google transparency report for the first half of the year 2016 showed that there was the number of requests that the company has been receiving from the government has kept on increasing.
In the report, the search giant noted that they received about 45,000 government requests all which sought information on more than 76,000 accounts. Google says they reviewed all the requests they received and they also complied with about 64 percent of them, which is the same with what Google did in the last period.
The report also showed that some governments also started making some requests. Some of the new governments included Saudi Arabia, Fiji, El Salvador, Algeria, Belarus and the Cayman Islands. Each of the new countries made several requests for information but the search giant is said to have ignored all of them.
For the United States, the government is said to have made about 14,000 crime related requests which pertained to 30,000 accounts. 79 percent of these cases were said to have been successful. The US authorities are also said to have sent a large number of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act requests together with National Security Letters. Google is however barred from disclosing any information for such requests and the data from such requests is subjected to a six month delay.
Google also noted that the US government had made about 500 to 999 FISA requests for various content which was associated with about 21,000 to 21,499 accounts in the last six months of last year. This was a big rise compared to the 16,000 to 16,499 accounts of the previous six months. The FBI also lifted a gag order which was issued on one of the NSL’s which were issued during the last half of the year 2015, therefore the range for these had to be adjusted from 0-499 to 1-499.
Richard Salgado, the director of law enforcement and information security at Google said that in the past years, the United States had put forward some meaningful surveillance reforms, and the US Congress was also looking at ways to assess the potential reforms through the Section 702 of FISA, which is the one used to authorize surveillance of the non US persons who are not located in the country. Salgado also said that he was looking forward to continuing to work with industry partners and the government to continue surveillance reform for both the US and the rest of the world.
After the US, the highest number of requests came from Germany with 8,700 of them, France at 4,300, India with 3,400 and the UK rounded up the top five with 3,300 requests. Turkey also made 390 requests, but Google showed that they only complied with one percent of the requests. This is thought to be in response to the country’s poor human rights record.
Google recently expanded their transparency report to include the use of HTTPS on the world’s top sites. The company noted that many high profile websites have not implemented HTTPS yet.