Google is in the habit of posting how many requests for private information they receive from governments around the world, because it turns out our governments (y’know, the ones employed by the citizens they like to monitor) aren’t to keen on telling us when they’re rummaging about our private information.
Turns out those requests are going up.
This is the sixth time we’ve released this data, and one trend has become clear: Government surveillance is on the rise. As you can see from the graph below, government demands for user data have increased steadily since we first launched the Transparency Report. In the first half of 2012, there were 20,938 inquiries from government entities around the world. Those requests were for information about 34,614 accounts.
The number of government requests to remove content from our services was largely flat from 2009 to 2011. But it’s spiked in this reporting period. In the first half of 2012, there were 1,791 requests from government officials around the world to remove 17,746 pieces of content.
You can see the country-by-country trends for requests to hand over user data and to remove content from our services in the Transparency Report itself, but in aggregate around the world, the numbers continue to go up.
These are good things to know.