Don’t worry I’m sure the increase is certainly related to finding Al Qaeda in the U.S., as opposed to targeting domestic civil rights activists. I wonder how many of these requests were related to Aaron Swartz, the computer genius that federal prosecutors drove to suicide because they were still bitter about the role played in destroying SOPA. Or are the requests aimed at “far right” extremists, folks that can be identified according to West Point by their defense of “civil activism, individual freedoms and self-government.”
Once again, the EFF deserves our highest praise for bringing this info to us. From the EFF:
This morning, Google released their semi-annual transparency report, and once again, it revealed a troubling trend: Internet surveillance around the world continues to rise, with the United States leading the way in demands for user data.
Google received over 21,000 requests for data on over 33,000 users in the last six months from governments around the world, a 70% increase since Google started releasing numbers in 2010. The United States accounted for almost 40% the total requests (8,438) and the number of users (14,791). The total numbers in the US for 2012 amounted to a 33% increase from 2011. And while Google only complied with two-thirds of the total requests globally, they complied with 88% of the requests in the United States.
And the most troubling part?
The most troubling aspect of the transparency report shows a vast majority—about two-thirds—of US government requests for user data were by subpoena, which has a much lower threshold than warrants and do not even require a judge’s approval. Only 1896 of the requests also came with a probable cause warrant, and 5784 of them came with no preliminary oversight from a judge at all.
And it’s probable that the actual number of requests from Google is vastly higher, as the number likely does not include any intelligence surveillance requests. National Security Letters, the controversial tool used by the FBI to gain access to personal information without any court authorization whatsoever (and currently being challenged in a federal district court by EFF), are almost certainly not included. Normally, NSLs come with gag orders attached to them so the organizations that receive them cannot even admit they exist. The FBI has issued hundreds of thousands of NSLs in the past decade.
So the question is: Is it the “terrorists” that hate us for our freedoms or is it our own government?
Full article here.