Feeds

UK almost tops international Google-snoop league

Woo! Number 1!

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

British authorities demand more data on Google users per capita than almost any other major democracy, newly-published figures have revealed.

The dominant search engine received 1,166 requests for private user data from British government organisations - the vast majority very likely from police and the intelligence agencies - in the 6 months to 31 December 2009.

With a population of just over 62 million, that means UK Google searches, emails and other data are more often demanded by authorities than in any other nation of the 20 the firm published figures for on Tuesday, except Brazil.

The South American nation shades it by a tiny margin. However, Brazilians dominate Google's social network, Orkut. If Orkut data requests were removed from the figures the UK would very likely be a clear number one.

Google said it was unable to say what proportion of the requests it complied with or how many users they related to.

If calculated as a proportion of total internet users - the UK has an estimated 42.7 million - then Brazilian authorities top the league, with their British counterparts again just beaten into second. On the same basis the French rank third and the US fifth.

Singapore, whose claim to democracy is weakest among the countries Google published figures for, came fourth both per capita and per internet user.

British authorities ranked fifth per head population for requests for Google to remove material, with 59 in six months, 43 of them YouTube videos. The firm complied with 45.

Germany came first in the censorship stakes per capita, issuing 188 take-down requests, which cybersecurity politics academic Tim Stevens, of King's College, speculates may be a result of its anti-Holocaust-denial laws.

He crunches the numbers and has a full list of rankings here.

Google did not release figures on disclosure and censorship requests from the Chinese government, saying it would break state secret laws. ®

This article originally said UK authorities made most data requests on a per capita basis. This was based on a wrongly-entered figure and has been corrected.

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

More from The Register

next story
Has Europe cut the UK adrift on data protection?
EU reckons we've one foot out the door anyway
Just TWO climate committee MPs contradict IPCC: The two with SCIENCE degrees
'Greenhouse effect is real, but as for the rest of it ...'
'Blow it up': Plods pop round for chat with Commonwealth Games tweeter
You'd better not be talking about the council's housing plans
Arrr: Freetard-bothering Digital Economy Act tied up, thrown in the hold
Ministry of Fun confirms: Yes, we're busy doing nothing
Government's 'Google Review' copyright rules become law
Welcome in a New Era ... of copyright litigation
Help yourself to anyone's photos FOR FREE, suggests UK.gov
Copyright law reforms will keep m'learned friends busy
Apple smacked with privacy sueball over Location Services
Class action launched on behalf of 100 million iPhone owners
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.