Canadian government demanded user data, Google reveals
Published On Thu Jul 7 2011
The Canadian government asked Google to hand over user data 38 times between July and December of 2010, according to a new report.
The Internet search giant’s 2011 Transparency Report reveals to what extent the world’s governments have been snooping on their citizens.
In the case of Canada, 55 per cent of the country’s requests for user data were fully or partially complied by the company.
The Canadian government would not comment to the Toronto Star on which agencies or departments had made the requests or why the 38 user’s data had been targeted.
Launched in September 2010, Google hopes its transparency tool “will shine some light on the appropriate scope and authority of government requests to obtain user data around the globe,” according to a statement on the Transparency Report website.
While the report is divided into regional governments, the data requests made are not necessarily for users living in the same country. It is possible, for example, that Canadians could be included in the U.S. government’s requests for data.
“These numbers reflect government requests for data about the users of our services and products. The statistics are collected and organized by jurisdiction of the requesting government entity, not by the location of the user,” Wendy Rozeluk, a Google Canada representative wrote in an email to the Star.
The U.S. topped the list of 26 countries asking for user data with 4,601 requests over the six month period followed by Brazil’s 1,804 requests then India’s 1,699.
The transparency report also sheds light on the number of content removal requests made by governments. Over the last six months of 2010, Google was asked to remove 12 web searches, eight YouTube videos and three blogs through Canadian court orders. The company complied with 86 per cent of the requests. All of the court orders cited defamation as the reason the content was flagged.
The number of items requested for removal by the Canadian government was up from previous reports. Argentina beat out other nations in the spike of item removal requests with an 83 per cent increase from earlier in the year. A Brazilian court requested 11,500 photos be removed from Google’s Picasa that allegedly showed text from copyrighted books.
No information was provided for China.
“Chinese officials consider censorship demands to be state secrets, so we cannot disclose any information about content removal requests for the two reporting periods from July 2009 to June 2010,” a statement from Google published on the site.