Google's Transparency Report: U.S. Government Filed More Requests for User Data Than Any Other Nation

For the third time now, Google has released its semi-annual Transparency Report, which shows how many removal and data requests the company receives from government agencies worldwide. This latest report covers the second half of 2010 and shows that the U.S. continues to lead when it comes to requesting private user data from Google. In total, U.S. government agencies filed 4,601 data requests in this time period and Google complied with 94% of these. This is the first time that Google has actually revealed the percentage of requests it has complied with (in whole or in part).

The number of requests U.S. agencies file with Google continues to climb. In the second half of 2009, the U.S. only made 3,580 requests.

When it comes to content removal requests, though, the U.S. trails a number of other nations. The U.S. filed 54 removal requests, covering 1,421 items, while the UK’s requests covered 93,518 items and South Korea’s government agencies wanted to see 32,152 items removed. Google complied with 100% of these requests from the UK and South Korea, but only with 87% of the U.S. requests. The number of requests form U.K. agencies is highly inflated by a single request from the UK’s Office of Fair Trading, though. This agency asked for the removal of 93,360 fraudulent Google Adwords ads.

As Google notes, Brazil also filed a large number of requests (263 covering 12,363 items). The company argues that this number is also inflated by a single request during the Fall election period in Brazil, however, as one single court ordered the removal of 11,500 photos from Picasa because of alleged copyright infringements. The popularity of Google’s social networking site orkut in Brazil is another reason for this high number.