PLEASE STOP with the snooping requests, begs Google as gov data demands skyrocket

Whadya know, spies are still spying. Transparency? Pah

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Worldwide government requests for access to Google's user data leapt by 15 per cent in the last six months, the ad giant said in its latest "Transparency Report" published on Monday.

The company added that the demands from national authorities had ballooned 150 per cent since Google first made details of the requests public in 2009.

And government bodies in the US continued to be the biggest snoops, with their requests for data climbing 19 per cent during the January to June period this year.

Google said that, since it had began publishing the data, Stateside authorities' requests had mushroomed a whopping 250 per cent.

During the six-month period, France, Germany, India, Singapore and Italy made anything between 1,000 and 3,400 requests each.

While in the US demands for access to Google data hit 12,539 from January to June 2014, the company's records showed.

Google's legal director Richard Salgado said:

This increase in government demands comes against a backdrop of ongoing revelations about government surveillance programs. Despite these revelations, we have seen some countries expand their surveillance authorities in an attempt to reach service providers outside their borders.

Others are considering similar measures. The efforts of the US Department of Justice and other countries to improve diplomatic cooperation will help reduce the perceived need for these laws, but much more remains to be done.

Governments have a legitimate and important role in fighting crime and investigating national security threats. To maintain public confidence in both government and technology, we need legislative reform that ensures surveillance powers are transparent, reasonably scoped by law, and subject to independent oversight.

He also sprinkled his blog post with a heavy-on-the-salt bit of lobbying by calling on Congress to update the Electronic Communications Privacy Act to clarify that search warrants must be obtained before a service provider's user data is sifted through by spooks.

Salgado added that "Congress should move now to enact [the USA FREEDOM Act] legislation into law" to halt "the bulk collection of internet metadata". ®

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