Government requests to Google for user data hit a record high in the second half of 2015, the online giant said.
In its transparency report released Monday, Google said governments around the world made 40,677 requests related to more than 81,000 accounts in the July-December period.
That compared with just over 35,000 requests in the prior six-month period on nearly 69,000 accounts.
Google said it turned over at least some data in 64 percent of the cases.”Usage of our services have increased every year, and so have the user data request numbers,” Google said.
The United States accounted for the largest share, with 12,523 requests, followed by Germany (7,491), France (4,174) and Britain (3,497).
“Google is proud to have led the charge on publishing these reports, helping shed light on government surveillance laws and practices across the world,” said Google legal director Richard Salgado.Like other big online firms, Google has emphasised that it turns over data following a legal process in the countries where it operates, while seeking to maintain the privacy of its users.
Salgado said in a blog post that a recent US-EU agreement on privacy was a positive development because it extends protection in the United States to non-Americans.
“This shift helps address concerns about the ability of non-US persons to redress grievances concerning data collected and stored by the US government under US law,” he said.
“Indeed, the distinctions that US privacy and surveillance laws make between US and non-US persons are increasingly obsolete in a world where communications primarily take place over a global medium: the internet.”