Governments keep requesting more and more personal information, Google has reveale

Governments want more personal data says Google

The number of government requests for personal information has gone up by 120 per cent since 2009 according to Google’s Transparency Report.

In a blog post on the company's website, the US technology giant’s legal director of law enforcement and information security Richardo Salgado has described the company’s attitudes towards online privacy.

"While we've always known how important transparency is when it comes to government requests, the events of the past year have underscored just how urgent the issue is,” Salgado wrote. “From being the first company to disclose information about National Security Letters to fighting for the ability to publish more about Fisa requests, we've continually advocated for your right to know."

Privacy online has become a key issue in the discussion about the Internet, with the web celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the man credited with creating the web, has called for a Magna Carta to be created in order to secure the rights of everyone using the Internet.

"We need a global constitution - a bill of rights," he said.

British pro-privacy group Big Brother Watch commended Google for the latest version of this report, but also suggested that those making information requests are doing so too freely.  

"Transparency is an essential part of ensuring the public trust that surveillance powers are not being used excessively. It's a continuing problem that we learn more about how British powers are being used from companies like Google, rather than the British authorities," said the group's deputy director Emma Carr.

"The fact that Google is assisting with thousands of requests every year for user information demonstrates how the Internet is not a safe haven for criminals. It's absolutely right companies assist the police with their investigations but we should also be asking why so many requests from the UK are refused by Google. This suggests a serious problem in the training of British officers who are making requests for too much information."

The ability to use Internet  data is a crucial tool in fighting cyber crime and terrorism. However, following the revelations about widespread data-mining practices made by former US National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, abuse of online gathered information has become a major concern.

Recent articles

Info Message

Our sites use cookies to support some functionality, and to collect anonymous user data.

Learn more about IET cookies and how to control them