Google?s Transparency Report reveals that the company is seeing? steadily increasing requests made by the government for various information. Google notes that more governments worldwide send their requests in an unprecedented scale.
Google has published its transparency reports as early as 2009. However, the disclosure of the requests of various government requests became publicly interesting after the revelations on surveillance by bodies such as NSA and PRISM.
Google states that the request percentage of its providing data as indicated above has even declined, a hefty 70% from 75%. Note, however, that the total number of information that it passes nevertheless increased. This is because more people have subscribed to Google in the past three years.
On March 27, 2014, Google has responded via a YouTube video portraying how the company addresses a search warrant in the United States. Google notes that it is doing its best to protect users? privacy and at the same time, comply with lawful orders of the courts. If a law enforcer believes that his case against a suspect is linked to the latter?s Google accounts, the law enforcer must first secure a search warrant from a judge.? The judge must determine the need for accessing sensitive information from Google, and if he finds probable cause, then he issues the warrant.
This is where Google comes in. After receiving the warrant, it makes an initial but very careful search in its database. Google acts carefully, because of a myriad of reasons: it might access another user?s information. If the warrant misspells the username, or if the warrant is meant for a different company, then Google goes back to the investigators and state that the warrant is too vague and broad. In turn, the investigators must request for a new warrant, which will narrow down the warrant, or the company may itself ask the judge to amend the warrant.
Either way, if Google determines the validity and lawfulness of a warrant, it notifies the user in question that law enforcers have made a data request. The company also reads the warrant very carefully so as to know exactly which data to produce.