Former General David Petraeus becomes one of the more than 7,969 Google users whose personal data has been usurped by the government for investigative purposes. In the first six months of 2012 alone, Google responded to the government’s request for personal information for over 20,000 private customer accounts. Last week, Google released its bi-annual “Transparency Report”, which documents the number of government requests for private individual information. Google reports that it typically complies with 90% the information requests. That is an increase of 2,681 governmental requests since the last half of 2011.
As the report clearly demonstrates, government surveillance activity is increasing at an alarming rate. This is the sixth Transparency report published by Google that reflects increased surveillance activities every year for the last three years. In addition to emails, information such as Google Drive accounts, IP addresses and other stored data is included in the government requests. Google receives requests for personal data from governments located across the globe. The U.S. is easily the most prolific seeker for personal data of Google users. Interestingly, India comes in at #2 for information requests. Google also entertains request to have certain information removed from platforms such as YouTube, blog posts and other content.