US government leads in number of Google data requests

The U.S. government made more than twice as many requests for user data from Google than any other nation over the last six months of 2010, the search giant said Monday.

Google received 4,601 requests from the U.S. government to hand over user data between July and December of last year and complied with 94 percent of them, according to a transparency report. Brazil and India were second and third with 1,804 and 1,699 requests, respectively.

"Our goal is to provide our users access to information and to protect the privacy of our users. Whenever we receive a request, we first check to make sure it meets both the letter and spirit of the law before complying," said Google's Matt Braithwaite.

"When possible, we notify affected users about requests for user data that may affect them. And, if we believe a request is overly broad, we will seek to narrow it."

The firm notes that multiple data requests could be for the same account, so it's impossible to know exactly how many accounts were affected. Google also disclosed the number of requests it receives from governments to remove information from its servers as part of the report.