Google Updates Transparency Reports: Adds Preservation Requests & Expands Emergency Disclosures

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Google is updating its transparency reports by adding preservation requests and expanding its emergency disclosure requests to include more countries beyond the U.S.

The newly added preservation request data will show how often it receives government requests to set aside user account data.

From the announcement, “These requests can be made so that information needed in an investigation is not lost while the government goes through the steps to get the formal legal process asking us to disclose the information.”

We call these “preservation requests” and because they don’t always lead to formal data requests, we keep them separate from the country totals we report.

Emergency disclosure requests have been included in past reports, but only for the U.S. Now, Google is providing data on emergency disclosure requests from every country that submits one.

Submitted by government agencies asking for information to save a life, or help someone who may be in peril, emergency disclosure requests are “fast-tracked” to get the needed information to the requesting agencies.

In addition to the newly added information, Google shared the following data from its 2014 report:

  • Google received 30,138 requests from around the world for information on more than 50,585 users or accounts.
  • It provided responses to 63 percent of those requests.
  • Requests from Europe were up two percent, Asia/Pacific was up seven percent, and in Latin America, requests rose 22 percent.

Google also noted its two recent legal wins: the right to unseal court documents relating to government requests associated with Wikileaks, and the right to release information on the 19 National Security Letters it challenged across multiple jurisdictions.

It also mentioned the U.S. House of Representatives latest vote to pass the USA Freedom Act, an effort to reform current government surveillance policies.

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