The hunger for more and more user data demanded from Google by governments around the world showed no sign of abating, according to the company's latest figures.
Google said in its "Transparency Report" that requests from authorities had climbed in the second half of 2012.
For the first time since the company started publishing how often governments were attempting to intercept communications online, Google said it was now offering a further breakdown of its numbers by displaying the kinds of legal processes used in the US by gov agencies to compel internet outfits to hand over user data.
Google legal director Richard Salgado said:
68 per cent of the requests Google received from government entities in the US were through subpoenas. These are requests for user-identifying information, issued under the Electronic Communications Privacy Act ("ECPA"), and are the easiest to get because they typically don’t involve judges.
22 per cent were through ECPA search warrants. These are, generally speaking, orders issued by judges under ECPA, based on a demonstration of "probable cause" to believe that certain information related to a crime is presently in the place to be searched.
The remaining 10 per cent were mostly court orders issued under ECPA by judges or other processes that are difficult to categorise.
Google added that requests for such data had increased by more than 70 per cent since 2009. During the July to December 2012 period government authorities worldwide submitted 21,389 demands for information about 33,634 users.
Requests about netizens using Google in the US kept the country in the top spot as the number one most snooped upon nation with more than 8,000 user data demands and nearly 15,000 appeals for access to user accounts coming from government agencies.
Overall, Google complied with 88 per cent of those requests.
US far ahead of any other nation on government snooping, says Google
Meanwhile, Britain's authorities maintained their appetite for data access from Google servers - earning the UK a fourth spot on the spying nation league list, according to Mountain View.
Google figures show steady climb in UK government requests
UK agencies, which are trying to get the Home Office to legislate for deeper surveillance of Blighty's comms data, put forward to Google nearly 1,500 user information and more than 1,900 user account requests in the final six months of last year. The company said it complied with 70 per cent of all of those requests. ®