Governments fishing for more user data

Last updated 05:00 25/01/2013

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Google is being pulled into an increasing number of police and government investigations around the world as authorities seek to learn more about the people who use its internet search engine, email and other services.

The latest snapshot of law enforcement agencies' efforts to extract personal information from Google emerged in a new report from the company.

Governments presented Google with 21,389 requests for information on 33,634 of its users during the last six months of 2012. The number of requests was up 17 per cent from a year earlier.

Authorities in the US delivered nearly 8438 of the requests, representing nearly 40 per cent of the worldwide total. The US volume was one-third higher than in the same period the previous year.

Subpoenas accounted for 68 per cent of US requests, followed by search warrants at 22 per cent. A mix of court orders and other legal demands made up the remaining US requests for user information from Google.

India generated the second highest number of user requests during the final half of last year at 2431, a 10 per cent increase from the previous year.

Since 2010, Google has been disclosing the total number of subpoenas, search warrants and other legal requests that it receives.

The company, which is based in Mountain View, California, said it plans to release a report within the next few months on the number of government demands it receives to remove videos, blog entries and other content from its services. That data also will cover the July-December period.

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- AP

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