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United States Government Demanding Google Info More Often
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According to new statistics released by Google, the United States law enforcement agencies across the country requested Google users’ personal information more often in the previous six months. The statistics show a 29 percent increase in requests over the past six months.

“We believe that providing this level of detail highlights the need to modernize laws like the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, which regulates government access to user information and was written 25 years ago—long before the average person had ever heard of email,” wrote Dorothy Chou, a senior policy analyst at Google, in a Tuesday blog post. “Yet at the end of the day, the information that we’re disclosing offers only a limited snapshot. We hope others join us in the effort to provide more transparency, so we’ll be better able to see the bigger picture of how regulatory environments affect the entire web.”

  
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This data first started being released by Google in 2010, but law enforcement agencies in the United States and all over the world have been asking for the data for as long as Google had been collecting it. Global law enforcement agencies requested the info for roughly 11,000 accounts over the previous six months. In the United States, Google said it complied with about 93 percent of the 5,950 requests made by U.S. law enforcement agencies.

Google released the following statement regarding the data: “The number of requests we receive for user account information as part of criminal investigations has increased year after year. The increase isn’t surprising, since each year we offer more products and services, and we have a larger number of users.”

The data requests remain the highest in the United States, even though law enforcement agencies across the globe have been requesting the info as well. The large number of requests issued by United States’ law enforcement agencies show that the authorities in this country are doing their jobs but a full picture of the demands still cannot be gathered.

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The Patriot Act allows the Federal Bureau of Investigation to demand information from companies such as Google in secret. The FBI can also tell the ISP holders to refrain from telling the subscribers about any demand of the data from law enforcement.

The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Pat Leahy (D-VT) has helped author a bill to update the Electronic Privacy Communications Act.



“Before the end of the calendar year, the Judiciary Committee will consider legislation that I have drafted to update the ECPA and to bring this law fully into the digital age,” Leahy said in a press statement. “I hope that all Members will join me in commemorating this important milestone anniversary and in supporting the effort in Congress to update this law to reflect the realities of the digital age.”



 

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