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Google Sees 45% Increase in U.S. Requests for Individuals’ Data

By
  • Jack Clark
Published
  • December 18 2015, 6:30am EST
More in

Bloomberg) -- The U.S. government asked for information on more individuals from Google than a year earlier, but requested less data.

The Alphabet Inc. subsidiary said Thursday that it saw a 4 percent decrease in U.S. government data requests for criminal investigations in the first half of 2015 compared with a year earlier, but a 45 percent increase in the number of individual accounts being targeted as part of those requests.

The Mountain View, California-based search giant also began providing finer-grained information than before on the number of U.S. government requests and is now releasing national security demands in ranges of 500, rather than the previous range of 1,000.

Google asked the U.S. government in June 2013 to let it disclose more information on national security requests in its transparency report. As a result of litigation, the company in 2014 gained the right to report the volume of national security demands in ranges of 1,000. Under the USA Freedom Act passed earlier this year by Congress, the company can now disclose requests in the narrower range of 500.

“Transparency is necessary to bring legitimacy to laws that otherwise operate concealed from the public,” Google said in a blog post. “As we take stock of the progress made toward providing greater transparency, we should also recognize that further reforms are necessary to promote better oversight over, and insight into, the implementation of government surveillance laws.”

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