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UK Government leads global snopping according to Google

June 28, 2011 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Customer Service, data security, Google, search engines, Uncategorized

Britons’ web usage are more likely to be requested by UK authorities than in almost any other country according to figures released by Google.UK Government leads global snopping according to GoogleThe search engine’s Transparency Report shows that in the six months to last December, British intelligence agencies, police and other government bodies asked Google to hand over data 1,162 times.

In raw numbers of requests, the United States topped the international table of 26 developed countries, with 4,601, but when population size was taken into account in an analysis by The Telegraph, it was relegated to fifth.

On this per head basis, only Singapore, which has been criticised by Human Rights Watch as an “authoritarian state”, asked for private data more frequently than Britain.

Australia came third, with 345 requests, and France fourth, with 1,021.

Google did not release details of the data requested, but it is likely to have included web search terms, emails and YouTube activity.

In some cases British authorities do not require a warrant or court order to access such data.

“We hope this tool will shine some light on the appropriate scope and authority of government requests to obtain user data around the globe,” Google said.

“Requests may ask for data about a number of different users or just one user. A single request may ask for several types of data but be valid only for one type and not for another; in those cases, we disclose only the information we believe we are legally required to share.”

Google also released figures on how regularly it removes material such as YouTube videos in response to official requests.

British authorites asked Google to remove content 38 times, including one request by the Office of Fair Trading that more than 93,000 adverts linked to fraud were taken offline.

By comparison, in Germany, which has strict laws against Nazi imagery, authorites made 118 content removal requests.

Brazil topped the table with 263 requests.

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