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Big Brother? Gov’t user data requests to Google nearly double in three years

Governments who want to know about their citizens are increasingly turning to the company that knows you better than anyone else. Google says it received 20 938 inquiries about user data from government entities around the world in the first half of 2012.

Those requests were for information about 34 614 accounts and was up from 12 359 in requests leading up to January 2009.

Government user requests

The country most interested in getting user data from Google, is the United States, which made 7 969 requests, with Google complying 90% of the time.

Behind the US are the likes of India, the UK, France and Germany.

Perhaps more concerning for anyone who’s an advocate of the Open Web though is the fact that the number of requests from governments to Google to take down content has spiked in the last few months.

In the first half of 2012, says Google, there were 1 791 requests from government officials around the world to remove 17 746 pieces of content.

The fact that the number of requests between 2009 and 2011 was largely flat shows just how serious governments have become about what they consider to be online threats.

Requests to remove content

In some high-profile cases — such as when it received a request from a Brazilian enforcement agency to remove seven blog posts for allegedly defaming the honour of a local mayor, judge and police chief of the Pará State — Google declined to take the content down.

As the internet giant notes, the information it discloses in its transparency reports is only an isolated sliver showing how governments interact with the internet.

As more companies like Dropbox, LinkedIn, Sonic.net and Twitter share their statistics however, we may begin to get a more complete perspective of what governments are doing online.

Author | Nur Bremmen: Staff reporter

Nur Bremmen: Staff reporter
Nur is an enigma with a passion for creating words. He recently entered a love affair with technology and chorizo sausages. He travels a lot -- you catch him, if you can, at a Silicon Cape event every now and again. More
  • jamie evans

    I LOVE my Z3 Compact because of its cute design, quality sound (I love listening to music) and amazing battery life

  • nick radu

    Not too big not too small with flagship specs, the Z3 Compact is the one for me

  • Joshua Lopez

    I got the Z3C in white. I can’t get my hand off

  • Rebaldo

    Just for the record
    Battery is 2600 mAh not 3100 mAh as mentioned in GSMARENA

  • Andy Walker

    Hi Rebaldo,
    Thanks for the comment, and well spotted. I got the Z3 Compact and its bigger brother confused there for a second. Thanks for picking that up.

  • Andy Walker

    Hi Jamie,
    Thanks for the comment. The battery life is seriously brilliant, indeed! That’s probably the best thing about this phone.

  • Andy Walker

    Hi Nick,
    Thanks for the comment. For one, I’d take the slightly bigger Z3, but you really can’t go wrong with the Z3 Compact either. It’s a nicely-sized phone.

  • Andy Walker

    Hi Joshua,
    Thanks for commenting! Agreed, the white one’s my favourite too. The black number is too bland and the mint, well, doesn’t suit the phone at all.

  • Andy Walker

    Hi Walter,
    Thanks for the comment!

  • Rebaldo

    i also have the z3 but i’m thinkin its a little big for me but i think i will like it more in a smaller package, reason why i was seeking reviews, i think i’m buying a compact
    thanks buddy

  • goldenblls

    Love this phone. Fast, beautiful, good in the water, great audio and imaging features, great build. Perfect!

  • Alan Clark

    I like the way you took the pics of z3 compact, showing the beautiful design and a Sony’s craftsmanship. Z3C deserves more attention and respect imo.

  • http://www.facebook.com/robstunner Rob Veesh

    This phone does NOT have OIS.

  • Ryan Anvari

    my phone

  • J

    I have it on good authority from Sony themselves that there won’t be a
    Z4 Compact. There’s also the fear the the Z4 with the Qualcomm 810 SoC
    will have overheating issues (especially since it’ll be waterproofed).

    The Z4 will also come out in Sept/October. Anyway just things to consider.