UK government increases data requests from Google

Google received 3,497 requests for user data from the UK government in the second half of 2015.

UK government made 351 more requests for Google data in the second half of 2015 – Photo credit: Pexels

Google’s transparency reports, which are produced twice a year, disclose the number of requests the company receives from governments to hand over data.

The number of requests in latest report, which looks at the period from July to December 2015, is 11% higher than the pervious period, from January to June 2015, when there were 3,146 requests.

However, the number of users or accounts specified in the requests from the UK government in the second half of 2015 dropped, from 6,506 to 5,405.

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Google said that it reviewed each request to make sure it complies with both the spirit and the letter of the law, and may refuse to produce information or try to narrow the request in some cases.

After doing this, it produced some data for 72% of requests in the second half of 2015 – slightly less than it did in the first half of the year, when it produced some data for 75% of requests.

This is slightly higher than the average number of requests responded to overall, which was 64% for the six months ending in December 2015. This continues a general downwards trend in the number of requests Google complies with, which has been falling since 2010, when it complied with 76% overall.

Meanwhile, the overall figures show that the company received 40,677 requests – the highest to date. The second highest was the previous six months, when there were 35,365.

The overall figures show that the UK was fourth in terms of the number of requests sent to Google, behind the US, Germany and France.

The US sent in 12,523 requests, and Google provided some data in 79% of cases; Germany made 7,491 requests to which 57% received some data; and France sent in 4,174, with 59% being successful.

The top five is completed by India, which made 3,265 requests, of which 49% received some data.

These same five countries have made up the top five since the period July to December 2012, with the US topping the report every time.


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