In our increasingly wireless culture, we’ve become comfortable publicly posting images of our friends and family, transmitting sensitive financial information, and even broadcasting our physical locations online. We do all of this under the assumption that big corporations like Google mean it when they say “Don’t be evil.”
Yet, ever since Edward Snowden leaked documents exposing domestic spying, the controversy around privacy and user protection has escalated. Many technology users wonder if telecommunications and social media companies are protecting or compromising their rights to privacy.
In a nod toward transparency, Google recently published a blog post indicating that it receives thousands of government requests for user data. Since Google last updated its figures in 2010, the number of government requests for user information has surged by 100 percent, not including the data requests which government agencies restrict Google from reporting.
A recent post on CNET highlights the following facts about Google’s findings:
- Google received about 11,000 requests for user information from the U.S. government between January and June of 2013.
- U.S. government requests comprise about 42 percent of all global requests.
- 68 percent of U.S. requests involved a subpoena and 22 percent were linked to a warrant.
- 9 percent of U.S. requests were classified as “other court orders,” “pen register orders,” or “emergency disclosure requests.”
- Google produced data for 83 percent of the U.S. requests.
- The U.S. government will not allow Google to share the number of requests it receives under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).
Do you feel safe conducting personal and professional business online? Please leave your thoughts or concerns in the comments below. If you have questions about keeping your business systems and data more secure, contact the Tucson Computer Support experts at Nextrio by calling (520) 519-6301.