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Google Says Requests for User Data Rose in Second Half of 2012

Google Inc., owner of the world’s most popular Internet-search engine, said requests for user data rose 2.2 percent in the second half of 2012 as governments around the globe asked for more personal information.

The requests, which also come from courts, increased to 21,389 from the first six months of last year and have risen more than 70 percent since 2009, according to a Google Transparency Report. About 68 percent of the requests in the U.S. were through subpoenas, which are issued under the Electronic Communications Privacy Act “and are the easiest to get because they typically don’t involve judges,” Google said in a separate blog.

Google, based in Mountain View, California, has come under increasing pressure to hand over user data in the U.S. and abroad as more information becomes stored online. The company complied with such requests, at least in part, 66 percent of the time in the latest period, down from 67 percent in the six previous months, according to the report.

“It’s important for people to understand how government actions affect them,” Google said in the blog post. “We’ll keep looking for more ways to inform you about government requests and how we handle them.”

The U.S. made the most user-data requests with 8,438, followed by India with 2,431 and then France with 1,693 for the July to December period of last year. The U.S. was No. 1 in the January to June period as well, followed by India and Brazil.

Google complied the most with the U.S., providing at least some data for 88 percent of the requests, followed by Singapore and then Taiwan.

-- Editors: James Callan, Cecile Daurat

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