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Google Reports Spike In Government Requests For Users' Information

 

David Petraeus and Paula Broadwell aren't the only ones getting their Gmail read by government agents.

Google is reporting a sharp increase in government demands to take down web pages and hand over users' personal email. In the first half of this year, U.S. agencies wanted Google to turn over information on more than 16,000 users. That's about a third more than the prior six months.

But Santa Clara Law School professor Eric Goldman says the numbers don't say much about the government requests or how the company responds to them. He says Google needs to disclose specifics on which agencies want user information and why -- as it does with companies complaining about copyright infringement.

"Google does publish the copyright takedown requests that it gets. And so we have the opportunity to reverse-engineer the legitimacy of those requests. That's along the lines of where I would love to see all these underlying reports move," says Goldman.

LinkedIn and DropBox issue their own transparency reports. Facebook says it has no immediate plans to do likewise.

 

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