Government requests for Google user data hit record high

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Google this week reported a record number of user data requests from global law enforcement agencies during the second half of 2015.

For the first time, inquiries topped the 40,000 mark at 40,677—64 percent of which yielded some data. That's up from 35,365 requests in the first half of the year, and more than the 30,140 made in the last six months of 2014.

The US leads the pack with 12,523 data requests on 27,157 users; Google provided some information in 79 percent of cases. Germany (7,491), France (4,174), the UK (3,497), and India (3,265) round out the top five.

"Google is proud to have led the charge on publishing these reports, helping shed light on government surveillance laws and practices around the world," Legal Director Richard Salgado wrote in a blog post.

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In recent years, a number of tech firms, like Microsoft, Yahoo, Twitter, Facebook, Wikipedia, Reddit, Pinterest, and Amazon, have produced their own transparency reports.

Google's latest comes after "some improvements" to surveillance regulation, most recently the Privacy Shield agreement, intended to protect data travelling between the US and European Union.

Earlier this year, the White House also signed into law the Judicial Redress Act, which helps extend protections to non-US citizens. "Indeed, the distinctions that US privacy and surveillance laws make between US and non-US persons is increasingly obsolete in a world where communications primarily take place over a global medium: the Internet," Salgado said.

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