Feeds

UK almost tops international Google-snoop league

Woo! Number 1!

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

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.

New hybrid storage solutions

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
JINGS! Microsoft Bing called Scots indyref RIGHT!
Redmond sporran metrics get one in the ten ring
Driving with an Apple Watch could land you with a £100 FINE
Bad news for tech-addicted fanbois behind the wheel
Murdoch to Europe: Inflict MORE PAIN on Google, please
'Platform for piracy' must be punished, or it'll kill us in FIVE YEARS
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Found inside ISIS terror chap's laptop: CELINE DION tunes
REPORT: Stash of terrorist material found in Syria Dell box
Sony says year's losses will be FOUR TIMES DEEPER than thought
Losses of more than $2 BILLION loom over troubled Japanese corp
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
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?
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.