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New Google report shows growing number of government requests

Heather Kelly, CNN
Google's latest transparency report shows a growing interest in user information by world governments.
Google's latest transparency report shows a growing interest in user information by world governments.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Google releases its eighth transparency report on Thursday
  • Number of government requests has doubled since company started tracking in 2009
  • The report breaks down law enforcement request by type for the first time
  • In the first half of 2013, the U.S. made the most requests for user information

(CNN) -- The United States government's hunger for information on Google users is continuing to rise. The tech company had more requests for user information in the first half of this year from the United States than any period before, according to the bi-annual Google transparency report released on Thursday.

The United States government continues to make the most requests in the world for user data, with 10,918 requests for 21,683 user accounts during the first six months of 2013. The United States also has the highest success rate at getting Google to comply with its requests. The search giant turned over user information for 83% of the U.S. queries.

India, Germany and France rounded out the top four, each making between 2,000 and 3,000 requests for user information.

In its most recent transparency report, Google has done something different. It now breaks down U.S. criminal legal requests by type, showing what percentage of the orders are subpoenas, wiretap orders, warrants, PEN register orders, or emergency disclosures. The majority of requests were subpoenas, followed by warrants. There were seven wiretap requests.

The numbers show how the volume of requests has increased steadily over time. The total amount of requests from all governments has doubled since Google started tracking them in 2009.

This is the company's eighth transparency report since it started publicly sharing the statistics in 2010. Google has led the way for tech companies with its transparency reports, which are becoming industry standard. After this year's National Security Agency revelations, other companies including Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo and most recently Apple joined in and released their own similar reports.

The companies have also petitioned the U.S. government to allow them to publish information on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act requests they field. Google continued to express frustration with the United States government for limiting what companies can disclose about national security requests.

"We believe it's your right to know what kinds of requests and how many each government is making of us and other companies," said Google legal director Richard Salgado in a blog post.

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