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Government requests for Google user data grow

Google's Transparency Report shows 584 user data requests were made from July to December 2012, an increase of 61 requests from the previous six months.

Australian government requests for data about users of Google's online services increased by over 11 per cent in the six months to December 2012 to 584, up from 523 requests for data users in the six months prior.

The latest Transparency Report from Google, released by the search giant twice a year, showed that government requests covered 841 accounts in the six-month period (some of these requests cover the same user accounts or multiple user accounts, hence the discrepancy).

A total of 1107 requests were made in 2012, an increase of 302 requests from the previous year.

Overall most countries covered by the Transparency Report saw an increase in user data requests in the second half of 2012 compared to the first. Argentina, Brazil, Canada, South Korea, Spain and Switzerland saw a decline.

“User data requests of all kinds have increased by more than 70 per cent since 2009, as you can see in our new visualizations of overall trends," Google’s legal director, law enforcement and information, Richard Salgado, wrote on the Google Blog.

"In total, we received 21,389 requests for information about 33,634 users from July through December 2012."

In the United States, 68 per cent of 8438 requests for user data were through subpoenas, 22 per cent were through search warrants and 10 per cent were court orders and other requests.

Content removal requests were not included in the latest report as Google plans to release those figures in a separate report. The search giant did not indicate when the report will be released.

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