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Google sees 150 per cent jump in government user data requests

Soaring requests from governments around the world despite Snowden revelations

spying

The number of requests made to Google for data on users has increased by 150 per cent over the last five years.

In the search giant's latest transparency report, demands by governments for user information have increased by 15 per cent over the last year.

In the US, these requests have increased 250 per cent in the last five years and 19 per cent since 2013. This is despite revelations by whistle blower Edward Snowden bringing attention to the online spying activities of the NSA. The numbers exclude FISA and NSL demands.

Richard Salgado, legal director of Law Enforcement and Information Security at Google, said in a blog post the 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."

He said 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," said Salgado.

He added the firm supported reform in the form of the USA Freedom Act and called on Congress to update the Electronic Communications Privacy Act in the US.

"This common-sense reform is now supported by a broad range of consumer groups, trade associations, and companies that comprise the Digital Due Process coalition."

As reported by IT Pro, rival company Yahoo has also been fighting the US government over request to hand over data.

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