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Google: Requests for data rose in second half of 2015

Google: Requests for data rose in second half of 2015
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Google said Monday that global government requests for its user data had risen in the second half of 2015 to an all-time high.

Authorities made 40,677 requests in the second half of last year, according to an update made to the company’s transparency report, up from 35,365 in the first half of the year. The number of users and accounts affected rose from 68,908 to 81,311.

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More than 12,000 requests were made in the United States, affecting 27,157 users or accounts.

Requests have risen every year since at least 2010, the first year when Google released 12 months worth of data.

The proportion of instances in which Google handed over some data remained relatively constant, rising from 63 percent to 64 percent. That figure was 79 percent in the United States.

In a blog post, Richard Salgado, Google’s legal director for law enforcement and information security, praised the recent adoption of the Privacy Shield agreement between the United States and the European Union. He also highlighted the Judicial Redress Act, which extends certain privacy protections to citizens of some foreign countries.

“This shift helps address concerns about the ability of non-U.S. persons to redress grievances concerning data collected and stored by the U.S. government under U.S. law,” he said. “Indeed, the distinctions that U.S. privacy and surveillance laws make between U.S. and non-U.S. persons are increasingly obsolete in a world where communications primarily take place over a global medium: the Internet.”

Salgado said that the company looks “forward to working on the future rules and standards in countries around the world that, like the Judicial Redress Act, respect the rights of users wherever they may be.”

Google has pushed for reforms to government surveillance as part of a coalition with Apple, Microsoft, Facebook and other major tech companies. It updates its transparency report twice a year.