Indian govt snooped on 13 users per day in 2012,says Google
In signs of growing Internet snooping by the enforcement authorities, India made an average of 13 requests a day to Google for access to personal web details of web users during 2012.
In terms of the number of requests for web user details last year, India is next to only the US, which made 45 requests a day on an average — the highest for any country. The US made a total of 16,407 such requests to Google during 2012, followed by India’s 4,750, France’s 3,239, Germany’s 3,083, UK’s 2,883 and Brazil’s 2,777 in the top five.
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The number of requests from all these countries rose last year in comparison to 2011, while the worldwide total also rose by 20 percent in 2012 to 42,327, as per Google’s latest Transparency Report. The number of such requests from India also rose by about 20 percent from 3,946 in 2011.
Google provided part or full information to the enforcement agencies from India for about two-third of the total requests received by it during 2012. The compliance rate was much higher at 88 percent for requests received from the US. Google publishes data for requests about user details, as also for removal of content on its various platforms, including Search, Images and YouTube, on a six-month basis.
Google received 2,319 user data requests from India during the first half of 2012, while the numbers rose to 2,431 in the second half of the year. The number of user accounts associated with such requests rose from 3,467 in the first half to 4,106 in the last six months of 2012.
The company said it regularly receives requests from governments and courts around the world to hand over user data and the number of such requests have increased with growing usage of its services every year.
Regarding the requests for removal of content, Google said that such requests are also received regularly by it from government agencies and courts around the world.
“Governments ask companies to remove content for many different reasons. For example, some content removals are requested due to allegations of defamation, while others are due to allegations that the content violates local laws prohibiting hate speech or adult content,” it said.
In respect of content removal requests from India, Google said, “In response to a court order, we removed 360 search results (during first half of 2012). The search results linked to 360 web pages that contained adult videos that allegedly violated an individual’s personal privacy.”
As per the latest available data, Google received requests from India for removal of 487 items through court orders during January-June 2012, while another 109 items were requested to be removed through police or executive orders.