The Transparency Report, is a report from Google detailing how often the search engine supplies the government with private Internet company data.
For around two years, California technology giant, Mountain View, has released the number of requests from the government for Google’s user data, and other information. The numbers are a little scary, and show just how much the government is actually watching.
According to Google, the US government asked for user information 6,321 times for the six-month period ending December of 2011. This data included, IP addresses of user accounts, browsing activity, emails, and other documents such as Google Docs.
One missing piece of the puzzle though is how often data is requested by the government without a probable-cause warrant.
Google has ignored requests for probable-cause warrant information, in its reports.
Although we live in a digital world, and the majority of our information lives on internet company servers, other companies such as Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, etc. don’t report on any statistics in this area, and perhaps should follow Google’s lead.
Some wonder if these internet companies aren’t being transparent because they have something to hide, and are perhaps in the cahoots with the government.
In Twitter’s defense, it has been effective and forceful at shining a light on government demands for data, and providing users with notice, so they can fight and object to irrational requests.
Users trust these online businesses with data to be able to use its services; however, this trust is based on transparency. Currently, none of the larger companies are properly detailing how much government surveillance is taking place, and how often.