In the first six months of this year, Google granted all or part of 90 percent of information requests from U.S. law enforcement agencies, handing out information on 16,281 users in response to 7,969 requests, reports the Grits for Breakfast blog. Comparing requests by country. The U.S. was far and away the source of the most law enforcement requests to Google for information and had the smallest proportion of requests denied.
Google said, “We review each request to make sure that it complies with both the spirit and the letter of the law, and we may refuse to produce information or try to narrow the request in some cases.” Some approval rates for other countries include Japan, 86 percent, United Kingdom, 64 percent, Germany 39 percent, Canada, 24 percent. How is it that Google turns down German law enforcement 61 percent of the time, turns down Canadians 76 percent of the time, but U.S. law enforcement’s requests are approved at a 90 percent clip? Is it that U.S. laws are more favorable to law enforcement and less conducive to personal privacy? Or does Google give US government agencies special treatment compared to other national governments?