Governments’ interest in the online activity of the citizens is increasing worldwide, according the recent transparency report of Google. The number of requests for data is growing.
Google received 48,941 requests from governments between January and June this year, compared to the approximately 44,000 requests in the same period in 2016. The demands were related to 83,345 user profiles altogether.
According to Nepszava.hu, 65 percent of these requests were fulfilled, data about 54,000 users were delivered.
This is only possible in case the requiring body has legal authority, like a court order or a search warrant.
The government of the United States has been the most active in this period with 17,000 requests. However, the majority of the requests were sent from outside the USA. 7781 demands were sent from Germany and 5661 from France, most of which were gratified.
Hungarian authorities submitted 81 requests concerning 126 profiles. None of them were fulfilled by Google. The situation was similar last year, when the Hungarian government (which attempted to tax some online services last year, including Google) sent 166 applications dealing with 218 profiles altogether. It was twice as many as in 2017, but Google denied all of those as well.
Moreover, their table shows that they have never delivered any information to the Hungarian authorities.
Google’s policy about data protection is very strict. They only deliver information if the case is well-grounded. On the other hand, some government bodies try to get desired data in an illegal way. According to Google’s former surveys, more than 80 percent of the world’s major news agencies have been hacked in operations financed by governments.
Many installed high level security systems against “non-official” observers. Facebook even sends a warning if there is a suspicion that some government bodies observe or hack a user’s online activity.