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Government Surveillance Growing, According To Google

Soulskill posted about 2 years ago | from the your-computer-is-broadcasting-an-ip-address-to-the-cia dept.

Google 105

SternisheFan writes with news that Google has updated is Transparency Report for the sixth time, and the big takeaway this time around is a significant increase in government surveillance. From the article: "In a blog post, Google senior policy analyst Dorothy Chou says, ' [G]overnment demands for user data have increased steadily since we first launched the Transparency Report.' In the first half of 2012, the period covered in the report, Chou says there were 20,938 inquiries from government organizations for information about 34,614 Google-related accounts. Google has a long history of pushing back against governmental demands for data, going back at least to its refusal to turn over search data to the Department of Justice in 2005. Many other companies have chosen to cooperate with government requests rather than question or oppose them, but Chou notes that in the past year, companies like Dropbox, LinkedIn, Sonic.net and Twitter have begun making government information requests public, to inform the discussion about Internet freedom and its limits. According to the report, the U.S. continues to make the most requests for user data, 7,969 in the first six months of the year. Google complied with 90% of these requests. Google's average compliance rate for the 31 countries listed in the report is about 47%."

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And this angers Google (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41974771)

They don't like competition.

sure glad google never surveils me! (0, Troll)

peter303 (12292) | about 2 years ago | (#41974789)

Pot calling the kettle

Re:sure glad google never surveils me! (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41974835)

Most things are worse when the government does it.

Re:sure glad google never surveils me! (0)

fiannaFailMan (702447) | about 2 years ago | (#41975175)

Most things are worse when the government does it.

Such as road building? Defense? Health? Fire departments?

(Let the flame war begin)

Re:sure glad google never surveils me! (3, Insightful)

BMOC (2478408) | about 2 years ago | (#41975307)

Well I seem to recall the following things being quite bad when the government does them:

- Phones
- Electricity
- Television/Radio Decency Standards
- Drug enforcement
- Energy planning
- Political News Reporting
- Overall News Reporting
- Responding to Crises (Katrina, Gulf Oil Spill, Sandy)
- Respect for Personal Property
- Crime Investigation

Road Building, Defense, Fire Departments, and health care usually get tonnes of money thrown at them. For the price paid, Government generally does a terrible job on those as well. But because we overspend, it's arguable they do a good job of it. If you want to see government employees disappointing you, go find some area where they're paid badly, or have budgets that are being scaled back regularly.

Re:sure glad google never surveils me! (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41975535)

Amazing. So people who are underpaid on missions that are underfunded don't perform as well as YOU would like them to? I'll alert the media.

You complain government does things badly, cite some good examples mixed in with some pretty questionable ones, and just know you're right, huh?

You know that outside the "all government is always bad" bubble that there are people in this country who, to this day, would not have electricity or phones were it not for government action. You cite two disasters and throw in one very recent politicized one where most failures have been PRIVATE (power, gas, fuel) and you blame government for not fixing what they don't control? Oh, and your middle crisis was a direct result of private industry hubris and stupidity and you blame government for not fixing their mess? (I blame government for allowing that kind of drilling in the first place, but that's another matter.)

I practically turn purple railing against overly intrusive "law enforcement" tactics by government thugs. I know that law enforcement is the cause of massive amounts of ruined lives and ended lives. I know we need to strip them of their power, badly. I also know that other kinds of things government does actually work, and I really know that a lack of objective analysis coupled with plenty of self delusion leads to some very interesting results. I think the person you most likely voted for in the presidential election learned that the hard way recently.

Re:sure glad google never surveils me! (3, Insightful)

ozmanjusri (601766) | about 2 years ago | (#41977001)

the following things being quite bad when the US government does them:

FTFY

Many other governments around the world manage these things reasonably effectively. Your government seems more ideological/theological/tribally driven than most, which makes practical approaches to service provision less likely.

Re:sure glad google never surveils me! (1)

t1oracle (1908404) | about 2 years ago | (#41979615)

I can see it now. The Microsoft police only answer calls from Windows phones and the officers always have the flu. Then there's the self-driving Google ambulance that requires a DNA sample as it shows you ads relevant to your current medical condition. Don't even get me started on the Apple hospital, it's literally a walled garden and the jello costs $20.

Re:sure glad google never surveils me! (0, Flamebait)

mcgrew (92797) | about 2 years ago | (#41981313)

- Phones

When has government been in the telephone business?

- Electricity

You're ignorant. My power company, CWLP, is run by the city. We have the lowest rates, the best uptime, and the best customer service in the state. Why? Because if the poor suckers a town away get shitty customer service or a lot of outages or high rates, there's not a god damned thing they can do about it. On the other hand, if our service suffers, we get a new Mayor next election.

- Television/Radio Decency Standards

A whole lot of people LIKE those standards.

- Drug enforcement

There should be no such thing, except that the FDA should continue regulating purity of drugs and dosages.

- Energy planning

What energy planning?

- Political News Reporting

Are you on crack, son? The government has nothing to do with political news reporting; FOX and CNN do. And they're NOT government entities!

- Overall News Reporting

Again, lay down the fucking pipe. It's eating your brain.

- Responding to Crises (Katrina, Gulf Oil Spill, Sandy)

Yeah, Bush was the worst President in my six decades, but if you think they did a bad job on the Gulf spill or Sandy, well, again, put the fucking pipe away!

- Respect for Personal Property

I haven't had government not respect my personal propery, but Sony vandalized my computer and it wasn't even a Sony computer.

- Crime Investigation

My house was burglarized last year, the culprit was in jail that night. Have you ever been a crime victim? I thought not.

Who modded this idiot "insightful"? Another drug-addled moron?

Re:sure glad google never surveils me! (5, Insightful)

BoberFett (127537) | about 2 years ago | (#41975347)

America's roads and bridges are crumbling as we rebuild them in Iraq.

Defense hasn't been defense in an awfully long time, it's the Department of Offense. And they spend trillions to blow up tents in the middle of nowhere.

Medicare accounts for half of all healthcare spending in this country, and only covers a small portion of us.

Fire departments are run locally, and the only thing on this list which is run reasonably well.

I think it's safe to say that the federal government does things pretty poorly.

Re:sure glad google never surveils me! (2)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 2 years ago | (#41976097)

Fire departments are run locally, and the only thing on this list which is run reasonably well.

They run even better with less government involvement. Several years ago I was a member of a volunteer fire department. Only the chief was a government employee. Everyone else was an unpaid volunteer. We had one pumper truck, and rest of our vehicles were pickup trucks, parked at the home of a volunteer in each neighborhood. What we lacked in professional training and equipment, we made up with really fast response times, which is the single most important factor in fighting fires. I don't understand why volunteer fire depts are not more common.

Re:sure glad google never surveils me! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41976843)

governments do things like mandatory evacuation of entire neighborhoods, forget to shut off the gas, and wonder why it ALL burns down. - safely.
people listen to them. mostley because the government will take somebody else's money and reimburse them.
Unless you live in california. Then you're just plain fucked.

Re:sure glad google never surveils me! (1)

mcgrew (92797) | about 2 years ago | (#41983827)

They run even better with less government involvement. Several years ago I was a member of a volunteer fire department. Only the chief was a government employee. Everyone else was an unpaid volunteer. We had one pumper truck, and rest of our vehicles were pickup trucks, parked at the home of a volunteer in each neighborhood. What we lacked in professional training and equipment, we made up with really fast response times

Several years ago my car caught fire [kuro5hin.org] . I was on my way down to the St Louis area to see some friends, and was first going to my daughter's in a nearby town who had a volunteer fire department.

It took almost an hour for you yahoos to show up. Had my car caught fire on a weekday I'd not have lost the car (assuming they're as fast as you say). If It had caught fire in Springfield with its city-run professionals I wouldn't have lost it.

Fast, my ass. Maybe yours is, but Chatham's sure isn't. Tell me, why would a volunteer fire department be faster than professionals? I've had to call for an ambulance twice, and in both cases the fire department was there in under five minutes but it took the corporate-run ambulance fifteen (the firetruck and its medics always shows up when you call an ambulance here).

Re:sure glad google never surveils me! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41976465)

I think it's safe to say that the federal government does things pretty poorly.

Whew... it's a good thing we're not letting them take over health care, or spend more of our tax dollars

Oh, wait.

War Department, as it used to be called... (2)

girlinatrainingbra (2738457) | about 2 years ago | (#41976991)

Re: Defense hasn't been defense in an awfully long time

Yeah, it used to be correctly named the Department of War, or as seen in the movies "The War Department". But I believe after WWII, they changed it to "Department of Defense" since there was no longer a current war; now considering the large number of never-ending not-declared-by-congress Wars that we are fighting on multiple fronts, the Department of War would again be the apropos moniker. It's just that it doesn't have the right political flavor for the pretense of moral superiority that "DoD" has.

Re:Medicare (1)

drainbramage (588291) | about 2 years ago | (#41977355)

"Medicare accounts for half of all healthcare spending in this country, and only covers a small portion of us"
Soooo, obamacare will fix this?
-----------------
All you pouty boys shut up, let someone with some sense explain this.
It really is (past) time for an explanation of how this is going to work.

Re:sure glad google never surveils me! (0)

ozmanjusri (601766) | about 2 years ago | (#41978249)

A study of cost-effectiveness in reducing mortality rates shows that the countries with the top 10 most efficient systems are:

1 Ireland

2 UK

3 New Zealand

4 Austria

5 Australia

6 Italy

7 Finland

8 Japan

9 Spain

10 Sweden

Note that most of those countries have predominately public healthcare systems, compared to the mainly private healthcare system used in the USA.

The USA was 23rd out of 24 countries surveyed, and according to the authors of the study "The USA results are perhaps not a surprise as a recent UNICEF report showed that in terms of material wellbeing the USA general population was below OECD inequality average, being 23rd out of 24 countries reviewed; were 19th, with regard to educational wellbeing, and for health and wellbeing 22nd, and currently the USA child (0 – 14) mortality is the highest among Western countries.
Consequently, on these measures the US healthcare system is the least effective and efficient of Western countries"

http://image.guardian.co.uk/sys-files/Guardian/documents/2011/08/07/JRSMpaperPritWall.pdf [guardian.co.uk]

To summarise: Stop doing what you're doing and look at what the countries above are doing.

Re:sure glad google never surveils me! (1)

moeinvt (851793) | about 2 years ago | (#41980103)

"....compared to the mainly private healthcare system used in the USA."

How is the USA healthcare system "mainly private"? Two government programs Medicare & Medicaid account for the bulk of healthcare expenditures in the USA. Government mandates such as EMTALA are pervasive. Government places artificial barriers to competition in healthcare services, insurance and prescription drugs. Insurance policies face further mandates about what they absolutely must cover.

It's a massive government cluster**** that people and businesses in the private sector are forced to deal with.

The USA government's 45 year intervention in the healthcare system has been a complete disaster. Suggesting that MORE government is the way to fix a problem caused by government is ludicrous.

Yes, the USA government should stop doing what it's doing and GET OUT of areas where they never belonged in the first place.

Re:sure glad google never surveils me! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41978679)

Medicare accounts for half of all healthcare spending in this country, and only covers a small portion of us.

Maybe that's because they are insuring the elderly who tend to be, you know, more likely to be sick.

Re:sure glad google never surveils me! (1)

strikethree (811449) | about 2 years ago | (#41979265)

I think it's safe to say that the federal government does things pretty poorly.

I disagree. I think it is safe to say that some people have figured out how to insert themselves in between the government programs and the people. They are like leeches or ticks that have become swollen and bloated, not realizing that they are literally (yes, literally) killing the host with their excesses.

Re:sure glad google never surveils me! (1)

Capsaicin (412918) | about 2 years ago | (#41975755)

Most things are worse when the government does it.

Which do you mean? That Google is much more efficient at surveilling us than any government could hope to be? Or that it was unfortunate that Google's DB fell into the hands of the Chinese government and may in the future fall into the hands of a government which governs you?

Thinking of changing my sig to:If Chrome were the last browser on earth ... I would browse with wget.

Re:sure glad google never surveils me! (1)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | about 2 years ago | (#41976495)

Regarding Google and Chrome: I have started using an Andriod tablet. At first it made me nervous, because you are very "checked in" to the googleplex when using Chrome on an Android tablet. Everything is keyed to your Google Play account, and you're generaly logged in on your account when using the browser. Then I discovered Firefox for Android. Now it's almost the only browser I use on my Galaxy Tab.

Re:sure glad google never surveils me! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41976879)

do the words search revenues and mozilla foundation and google go together in a sentence?
if you were seious you would be using lynx. :)

Re:sure glad google never surveils me! (1)

icebraining (1313345) | about 2 years ago | (#41979217)

So what if they do? Do you have any evidence of Mozilla tracking users without their consent, or are you just defaming them?

Re:sure glad google never surveils me! (2)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | about 2 years ago | (#41977269)

I have to say that I'm not completely sure about that. When the government obtains tons of personal information about you, they can use it against you. When a corporation in the US obtains tons of personal information about you, they'll probably use it to make more money... but the government will also try to get access to that information, and if they do get it (which they probably will), they'll use it against you. In that scenario, it's possible that numerous entities get your information. As long as the government can simply ask corporations for information without a warrant and is able to use it in court against you, I'll have to say that it's getting to the point where it's worse if a corporation gets your information.

Re:sure glad google never surveils me! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41978199)

I have to say that I'm not completely sure about that. When the government obtains tons of personal information about you, they can use it against you. When a corporation in the US obtains tons of personal information about you, they'll probably use it to make more money... but the government will also try to get access to that information, and if they do get it (which they probably will), they'll use it against you. In that scenario, it's possible that numerous entities get your information. As long as the government can simply ask corporations for information without a warrant and is able to use it in court against you, I'll have to say that it's getting to the point where it's worse if a corporation gets your information.

Yes but government does not use its surveillance apparatus against everybody constantly with anything like the intensity or invasiveness companies like Google do. Government efforts tend to be focused on small groups. Google, Facebook and the rest of that ilk have shown that they are willing to circumvent browser security, ignore do-not-track requests etc. to obtain data. These companies conduct way more surveillance PER CITIZEN than govt. ever does. Even if you never sign up to Google services they'll still know some pretty intimate things about you that the govt. will never know or bother to find out unless you join a drug cartel or set up an Al Quaeda cell. Things like for example that you are gay, or that you like fat girls, that you have erectile dysfunction or, if you are female, that you can't achieve orgasms during vaginal intercourse, that you have a recurring fungal infection in an embarrasing place .... the list goes on....

Re:sure glad google never surveils me! (1)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | about 2 years ago | (#41978769)

These companies conduct way more surveillance PER CITIZEN than govt.

Right, but my entire point was that the government can get this data from the companies, and then multiple entities have the it; one of them (the government) can ruin your life. Because corporations so freely hand over the data to the government, it can sometimes be worse if a corporation is the one who gets the data, in my opinion.

Re:sure glad google never surveils me! (2)

green1 (322787) | about 2 years ago | (#41975251)

Although I do see your point, there is a subtle difference. I can choose not to use Google...

Re:sure glad google never surveils me! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41975651)

Can you *really* choose not to use Google?

If your ISP uses Postini as part of their e-mail system, you are using Google.

If you go to a web site that has Google custom search installed, you used Google just by downloading the custom search widget even without searching.

If you visit any website also using google-analytics, googleusercontent, gstatic, or doubleclick ads, you have used Google by downloading their page code even if the rich media content is blocked.

If you post to Usenet, Google archives your post, you have effectively used Google Groups. (X-No-Archive posts have a 7 day window in which they can be quoted as part of a reply before they are removed from Groups.)

At the minimum Google still has your IP address and browser user agent when you have passively ended up using Google.

Do a view search on any non-SSL web page, notice that Google is all the f**king over the place on the web!

This is why Google needs to be stopped, not just favoring their own products in search.

Re:sure glad google never surveils me! (2)

green1 (322787) | about 2 years ago | (#41976705)

If you really want to avoid google, it only takes a few host entries and you'll find most sites still work just fine, with no google tracking.

Try that to opt out of your government...

Re:sure glad google never surveils me! (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about 2 years ago | (#41976875)

That's rather naive, I think. Google is a corporation, one which people agree to certain conditions in order to use the corporation's services.

On the other hand, the government is supposed to work for the people. In fact, we have a constitution that was meant to limit government's powers and authority. That constitution granted us rights, and limited government's rights.

You can fight against Google's snooping without worrying about prison time. Fighting government snooping may very well land you in prison.

Just think about it.

Re:sure glad google never surveils me! (1)

EuclideanSilence (1968630) | about 2 years ago | (#41978283)

The constitution doesn't just limit the governments powers, it enumerates them.

Re:sure glad google never surveils me! (1)

mcgrew (92797) | about 2 years ago | (#41984103)

That constitution granted us rights, and limited government's rights.

Wrong. It enumerates government powers and says that anything not granted to the feds is your right or your state's right. It does NOT gurantee rights, although the first ten amendments do quantify certain rights. But see the tenth amendment, which says that your rights are not limited by the Bill of Rights.

Is this surprising? (4, Insightful)

heypete (60671) | about 2 years ago | (#41974805)

More and more of people's lives take place on the internet.

Things that used to be ephemeral (telephone calls, letters, etc.) are becoming long-lived (emails, social networking posts, instant messages, etc.) and are useful investigative toosl.

Previously the police needed to get telephone records and then analyze the calling records to form connections. With social networks like Facebook, people do it for them.

Can the authorities abuse their position of power for various nefarious deeds? Absolutely. Are some of their requests legally or ethically dubious? No doubt. Nevertheless, there's plenty of legitimate reasons for governments to request user information and it should come as no surprise that the number of such requests is increasing.

That said, it's nice to see that major players like Google are quantifying the requests and the reasons behind them, as well as pushing back against such demands.

Re:Is this surprising? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41975139)

The criminals that are stupid enough to use these sites for criminal coordination can probably be caught without spying on the rest of us.

Re:Is this surprising? (1)

Nerdfest (867930) | about 2 years ago | (#41975305)

I'd like to see more of the other big information collectors volunteer this same information, and even better, push back against them and demand a warrant, as they should. You see most people here slinging anti-Google FUD, and they're the *best* of the bunch (although still demanding warrants as they should).

Re:Is this surprising? (1)

Adrian Lopez (2615) | about 2 years ago | (#41975391)

Can the authorities abuse their position of power for various nefarious deeds? Absolutely. Are some of their requests legally or ethically dubious? No doubt. Nevertheless, there's plenty of legitimate reasons for governments to request user information and it should come as no surprise that the number of such requests is increasing.

The problem with "legitimate" requests begins when they become so routine that they end up as fishing expeditions rather than legitimate criminal investigations.

Change! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41974833)

Hope!

Continued Gitmo!

And coming soon: War: Iran! With israel as a special guest (not on the battlefield, you silly. But they'll be there when everybody is dead for the spoils and land)

Re:Change! (-1, Troll)

fiannaFailMan (702447) | about 2 years ago | (#41975219)

Hope!

Continued Gitmo!

And coming soon: War: Iran! With israel as a special guest (not on the battlefield, you silly. But they'll be there when everybody is dead for the spoils and land)

I know. Would have been so much better if the budget could have been balanced by killing Big Bird, women's body parts became subject to the Christian equivalent of Sharia, defense spending could have been raised way above what the Pentagon wants or the country needs, and relations with the outside world could have been restored to their Bush-era levels.

Re:Change! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41978219)

Hope!

Continued Gitmo!

And coming soon: War: Iran! With israel as a special guest (not on the battlefield, you silly. But they'll be there when everybody is dead for the spoils and land)

I know. Would have been so much better if the budget could have been balanced by killing Big Bird, women's body parts became subject to the Christian equivalent of Sharia, defense spending could have been raised way above what the Pentagon wants or the country needs, and relations with the outside world could have been restored to their Bush-era levels.

Don't worry, I hear Jeb Bush has decided to run for president in 2016.

Re:Change! (1)

green1 (322787) | about 2 years ago | (#41975263)

While I agree with you on most of this, I must say, Israel has never been shy about deploying soldiers, I bet they'll be on the battlefield.

Re:Change! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41977679)

I would be willing to bet you a very significant amount of money that we do not go to war with Iran in the next 4 years.

One-stop shopping for infprmation... (2)

tlhIngan (30335) | about 2 years ago | (#41974857)

What did Google expect? That government wouldn't see that social networking sites and Google's press for personal information would be an attractive target?

After all, what once required actually boots hitting the ground, gathering of data, and correllating it together can be fulfilled with a simple, easy and no-fuss request to Google and the like, why wouldn't the government do that? It's cheaper, easier, and faster. And Google keeps demanding more information from you, making it even MORE tempting for government.

Of course, it's not like Google can do anything about it - they depend on knowing lots about you to begin with in order to pay the bills.

Re:One-stop shopping for infprmation... (2)

BMOC (2478408) | about 2 years ago | (#41975133)

I remember the days when my friends laughed at me for never starting a facebook page. I kept telling them that what they were doing by putting their entire lives on a single company's database was no different than handing it to any 3-letter agency. They thought I was crazy/paranoid/backwards. Of course they usually thought this as I was fixing their computer for them.

Now the damage is done. It's highly likely that elections are being won with the volunteered information and raw database-crunching power available to various groups now. You may say that there's no obvious problem with this, but I would prefer that politicians dance for the intelligent rather than expertly manipulate the retarded among us.

Re:One-stop shopping for infprmation... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41976047)

Why would Google want to "do anything about it" anyway?

Contrary to popular belief, Google isn't in business for our benefit, but for a good old-fashioned profit motive. And they personally store, quite possibly, as much information about you as any government. (Of course there's no way to know for sure, because Google's own business practices are about as transparent as a sack of soot.)

Re:One-stop shopping for infprmation... (2)

a_hanso (1891616) | about 2 years ago | (#41977367)

Google has done more to damage online anonymity than any other entity, commercial or otherwise. They force you to create real name accounts whenever they can get away with doing so and call it an 'identity service'. They want your real world contact info to create any account with them, then consolidate all those accounts and then they drive the other services (who don't yet do it) out of business. When the government comes with a warrant, they just hand the data over. Anonymity is the last line of defense against despotism and Google is killing it. [/rant]

Google Should Know (3, Insightful)

boudie2 (1134233) | about 2 years ago | (#41974889)

Whatever happened to "Don't be evil"? And how many tens of thousands of enquiries from "government agencies" does one have to receive before one is not acting as a subject but rather as an arm of that same government. And, at what point do people have to say "enough"?

Re:Google Should Know (1)

Githaron (2462596) | about 2 years ago | (#41975167)

The real question is whether or not Google waits for a warrant before they give out information.

Re:Google Should Know (4, Insightful)

BMOC (2478408) | about 2 years ago | (#41975243)

Thanks to Bush and Obama for their secret interpretations of various parts of FISA + Patriot Act, the answer is likely no.

Re:Google Should Know (2)

Githaron (2462596) | about 2 years ago | (#41975311)

So in other words, this is a government problem not a Google problem.

Re:Google Should Know (-1)

RocketRabbit (830691) | about 2 years ago | (#41975471)

Not exactly. Google makes money by profiling its users. They save this information, as well as everything they can get from the users. Then the government comes and commands them to hand it over.

Because Google insists on keeping so much data about everything users do, as well as keeping the users' emails and such in plaintext on their own servers instead of using per-user encryption (they have to be able to analyze the emails after all!) Google has become partly responsible for the encroachments on users.

Looking over your posts here - what do you do, just shill for Google all day? The criticism leveled at Google is legitimate and all you can offer is a pithy little crap remark about how it's not Google's fault.

Well, this time it is. Deal with it.

Re:Google Should Know (1)

Nerdfest (867930) | about 2 years ago | (#41975639)

How exactly would per-user encryption help? You can encrypt your emails if you want, but if Google does it per user, they still have the key. This is very much a government problem. If Google doesn't have to hand to hand over the data but does anyway, it's a Google problem as well. As I've said above though, Google's probably the *least* evil of the big data corps.

Re:Google Should Know (1)

Zigg (64962) | about 2 years ago | (#41975891)

How exactly would per-user encryption help? You can encrypt your emails if you want, but if Google does it per user, they still have the key.

The fact that currently, encryption would have to happen at Google smells to me like a gigantic flaw in the whole "web apps for everything" mantra. I can not only encrypt when I run my own mail client with standard protocols, but I even get to choose whether I want to go S/MIME or PGP. Neither is an option in the webmail space unless I want to delegate crypto to the service provider.

(Depending on your conspiracy bent, you could also say this constitutes a non-flaw from Google's perspective.)

Re:Google Should Know (1)

Nerdfest (867930) | about 2 years ago | (#41976171)

Google supports IMAP which you can use to encrypt of course, but I think there are a few webmail clients that will do it for you as well. And yes, I would think that most people being too lazy (or just plain not technically competent) is a plus from Google's perspective. Then again, you're trading your personal information for their services, and they're not being particularly backhanded about it. Many people consider it an acceptable trade. Personally I'd like to see the laws changed so that a warrant is required to access personal information from a private company. Privacy laws should demand it if nothing else.

Re:Google Should Know (2)

Githaron (2462596) | about 2 years ago | (#41975871)

Fine. Replace the word Google with any company that you would like that collects user data. The fact of the matter is that if company X wants to remain licensed as a business, they have to comply with legal government orders. Yes, company X is collecting the data but the users know the data is being collected. Most likely, company X has a publicly accessible privacy policy. No user is being forced to use the services of company X. Now if company X, starts giving the government access to restricted user data in order to curry favor or avoid hassle, they are in the wrong. If they are giving the government access because of a court order, it is the government the holds the sole blame if they wrongly access the data.

Re:Google Should Know (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | about 2 years ago | (#41975717)

So in other words, this is a government problem not a Google problem.

Yes and no. The government wouldn't be so interested in google if their surveilance model weren't so similar to google's business model - centralized collection of as much data as possible for data mining purposes.

In google's defense, their publication of this information is about the best we can hope for from them to counter what are practically secret fishing expeditions, short of them using their lobbyists to convince congress to reign in the DOJ/DHS.

Re:Google Should Know (1)

green1 (322787) | about 2 years ago | (#41975293)

Considering the number of laws these days that specifically avoid warrants, I doubt they even have much choice anymore. The best thing they can do really is what you see here, making sure as many people as possible know about it. On a side note, i love how they handle DMCA takedown requests on their search results, you click on the link at the bottom of the page, and it gives you a list of links that someone wanted removed. It's brilliant!

Re:Google Should Know (1)

Nexion (1064) | about 2 years ago | (#41975275)

Google can no longer claim that slogan. They gave it up when challenged by Yahoo and a few others.

Re:Google Should Know (1)

SternisheFan (2529412) | about 2 years ago | (#41976199)

I so agree. I don't know who originally said this quote, but it's apt.

"Democracy does not come from governments. Democracy comes from the people."

Re:Google Should Know (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41976247)

Google has seemed to embrace the former Soviet Union style of store everything about everyone so it can be used against them at any time.

What, you think embarassing or derogatory web content showing up at the top of the search is an accident? This is the the unannounced double-secret key to their algorithm! If there is anything derogatory, mocking, or embarassing to a person, that information WILL be at the top of the search results. This is why they are so slow to change those searches--they want this!

What, you think they really were following the Don't Be Evil motto? Look at the origin of the founders of Google, they are Russian. One of them even migrated from the Soviet Union as a child.

Treat Google as the rebirth of the former Soviet Union as an online entity and treat them as if they are a Red Scare to be avoided. Block anything Google as much as possible and they'll have minimum information to store against you except for an IP address and maybe a browser user agent.

Re:Google Should Know (1)

boudie2 (1134233) | about 2 years ago | (#41976649)

They may be posting embarassing or scandalous items at the top of their search results, but I have noticed in the past that certain individuals have almost nothing about them. In particular, one former Canadian politician who was in the news every day for a couple years regarding a sex scandal. When I google his name almost nothing shows up, perhaps 2 or 3 general articles. What's the deal with that? I've read that there are persons who claim to get things "removed" from Google . The other day I googled "Bob Dylan Ten Of Swords" and got a whole page of Chilling Effects warnings. Dylan's lawyers must keep very busy. And yeah, as much as they perturb me, I use their stuff all the time.

Re:Google Should Know (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41976809)

Do these searches also include Google Groups? Likely, any posts bashing or ridiculing those individuals are near the top of the search.

Re:Google Should Know (1)

chowdahhead (1618447) | about 2 years ago | (#41979149)

Google represents a small chunk of data collection though. Facebook, ISP's, cell and landline companies, EZ pass tolls, credit agencies, Microsoft, Apple, Yahoo...it's a long list. At least Google is transparent about what information is being collected, what it's used for, and how it's accessed. That's kind of unique in this post-9/11 age, and I think that supports their "Don't be evil" mantra.

Overrated, Outdated Values. (1)

Robert Bowles (2733) | about 2 years ago | (#41974903)

War is Peace
Freedom is Slavery
Ignorance is Strength

Government (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41974951)

I know most people don't care because they don't feel they're doing anything wrong, but for people like me, this is just another show of how over-reaching the government is becoming.

Re:Government (2)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 2 years ago | (#41974999)

I know most people don't care because they don't feel they're doing anything wrong, but for people like me, this is just another show of how over-reaching the government is becoming.

Everyone is innocent, until a government decides otherwise.

Re:Government (0)

ISoldat53 (977164) | about 2 years ago | (#41975043)

If you're innocent you have nothing to fear.

Re:Government (2)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 2 years ago | (#41975185)

If you're innocent you have nothing to fear.

But it was all right, everything was all right, the struggle was finished. He had won the victory over himself. He loved Big Brother.

If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face — forever.

Re:Government (1)

Githaron (2462596) | about 2 years ago | (#41975339)

You are supposed to warn people about spoilers.

Re:Government (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 2 years ago | (#41981223)

You are supposed to warn people about spoilers.

My bad.

**SPOILER ALERT** - Juliet didn't actually poison herself.

Re:Government (1)

mcgrew (92797) | about 2 years ago | (#41985183)

Not if the book is older than you, especially one as widely known as 1984.

Re:Government (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41975289)

Bullshit. Besides, no one is innocent. With as many laws as we have, do you really think there is any individual haven't broken at least one of them? If you are "innocent", it simply means you haven't pissed off anyone in power yet.

Re:Government (1)

thegrassyknowl (762218) | about 2 years ago | (#41976095)

Everyone is innocent, until a government decides otherwise.

Try telling this to the "if you aren't doing anything wrong you have nothing to fear" crowd. Their response is invariably "the government would never do that".

Neato (1)

koan (80826) | about 2 years ago | (#41974987)

Is there anywhere that I can see exactly whose records were requested? Or is it all done in bulk?

Re:Neato (1)

aNonnyMouseCowered (2693969) | about 2 years ago | (#41975171)

You won't know until you get a call or worse a visit from the Feds. Ask a certain ex-CIA director. I know it's evil to be spied on by somebody else but your neighbor, but just imagine the civil rights uproar that would arise should the list be made public.

Who didn't know? (1)

CheshireDragon (1183095) | about 2 years ago | (#41975031)

Street view, drones(they are starting this in Texas), TSA, mobile devices, GPS, facial recognition and most everyone is on that database now.

*checks tinfoil hat placement*

Re:Who didn't know? (1)

Githaron (2462596) | about 2 years ago | (#41975357)

Time to make masks the next big thing in fashion.

Re:Who didn't know? (3, Funny)

WrecklessSandwich (1000139) | about 2 years ago | (#41975513)

*checks tinfoil hat placement*

Just gonna leave this here... http://berkeley.intel-research.net/arahimi/helmet/ [intel-research.net]

Re:Who didn't know? (1)

SternisheFan (2529412) | about 2 years ago | (#41976407)

Even a paranoid can have enemies. Henry A. Kissinger

Just because they really are out to get you doesn't mean you aren't paranoid.- Steven Brust

I'm not a paranoid deranged millionaire. Goddamit, I'm a billionaire. Howard Hughes

http://mobile.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/paranoid.html [brainyquote.com]

Idea: Also Inform The User (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41975037)

For government information requests, Google should also send a copy of the request and the response to the user.

Re:Idea: Also Inform The User (2)

green1 (322787) | about 2 years ago | (#41975313)

Often this would land them in pretty big trouble, many of these laws have provisions against this.

Envy of Freedoms (2)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41975047)

I'm certain that the old saying, they attack because they envy our freedoms still apply. I'm certain the middle eastern people's wouldn't feel at home in the "freedom loving" country USA.

I'm only pissed off because these stupid ideas and police state tactics, laws and such are being exported from USA to Europe so that they can comply with USG requests and of course to fill their envy quota of power grabbing from the people. USA is today, is a black hole, sucking away the light.

Oh I want to know one thing.. (1)

3seas (184403) | about 2 years ago | (#41975107)

who the fu& is paying for it?

Re:Oh I want to know one thing.. (1)

green1 (322787) | about 2 years ago | (#41975315)

You are. One way or another.

What about corporate surveillance? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41975329)

Without that information, we only have part of the picture.

Google Surveillance Growing, Says Government (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41975363)

n/t

Poor Google (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41975417)

The surveillance of them is going to get really hot and heavy when the FTC sues them for anti-trust violations over their FRAND patent licensing practices.

More deletion requests leading up to election! (2)

uCallHimDrJ0NES (2546640) | about 2 years ago | (#41975461)

Wow, that's quite a spike in user content take down requests in the six months leading up to a major election! I wonder if this will repeat in 2016? My bet is that they will start auto-generating background noise requests in order to render Google's reports useless to the public. Some of those randomly selected users are going to be seriously baffled!

Surprised? *Government* is growing out of control (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41975595)

And they gotta make sure us little pissant subjects don't revolt, or drink a Big Gulp.

Re:Surprised? *Government* is growing out of contr (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41977723)

That's because Big Gulps make you piss too much and make you fat.

Which agencies? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41975705)

I just skimmed through the pages but didn't see which agencies were making the requests. Is it listed somewhere?

Here she is: (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41975715)

http://images.foxnews.mobi/content/950/feed-3950/fZmJuX2Nob3Uuan-240.JPEG

Nice!

NSA is now pissed that (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41975851)

Google has clearly failed to deliver sufficient backdoors to the government specifications.

And Google should know. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41976041)

They're watching everybody.

meh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41976423)

Oh please there is no way u can eat that.

Government Surveillance Growing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41976691)

Government Surveillance Growing
 
Rain falls.
 
Sun comes up, sun goes down.

ROTFLMAO (1)

PPH (736903) | about 2 years ago | (#41976941)

As long as they are taking down the likes of Petraeus and now maybe General Allen, I'm fine with it.

Not that I'm being judgmental about a bit of hanky-panky. But them that lives by the sword, dies by the sword.

Google Should Know! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41977181)

Google has become the USA Government's great 'Latch-Key' and righty so for all the cash, $$$$$, that the White House, i.e. Barak Obama personally receives, and DoD Executives too ... OH SHIT --- GEN. PETRAEUS -- The Fucker's a funking Greek Descendant! Greek as in Grease and BAZILLIONS of SHIT -- Holy SHIT BATMAN -- The US IS funneling GAY BUTT LOADS of $$$$ into the bank accounts (checking and savings) of Google Executives, via UBS secret accounts in Switzerland. This FUCKS everybody! Fuck THIS!

Oh Jolly! Even the super 'genius' accountants who have 'man things' at IRS don't even have a clue to this shit. Ta Ta.

Jolly Good. I am out'a here for a new country and identity. Maybe even a race-change operation.

XD

Oh, the irony! (1)

chrism238 (657741) | about 2 years ago | (#41977185)

Perhaps a merger is on the cards?
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