Feeds

UK almost tops international Google-snoop league

Woo! Number 1!

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

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.

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Bono apologises for iTunes album dump
Megalomania, generosity and FEAR of irrelevance drove group to Apple deal
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
Arab States make play for greater government control of the internet
Nerds told to get lost in last-minute power grab bid at UN meeting
Apple SILENCES Bose, YANKS headphones from stores
The, er, Beats go on after noise-cancelling spat
Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots
We know what the Doctor does, stop going on about it already
Zippy one-liners, broken promises: Doctor Who on the Orient Express
Series finally hits stride, but Clara's U-turn is baffling
Don't bother telling people if you lose their data, say Euro bods
You read that right – with the proviso that it's encrypted
America's super-secret X-37B plane returns to Earth after nearly TWO YEARS aloft
674 days in space for US Air Force's mystery orbital vehicle
10 Top Tips For PRs Considering Whether To Phone The Register
You'll Read These And LOL Even Though They're Serious
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.