Surveillance

Google Releases New Transparency Figures

After government eases up restrictions on reporting how often they're requesting data about users

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We believe the public deserves to know the full extent to which governments request user information from Google. That's why for the past four years we've shared and continuously expanded and updated information about government requests for user information in our Transparency Report.

Until now, the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) opposed our efforts to publish statistics specifically about Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) requests. Under FISA, the government may apply for orders from a special FISA Court to require U.S. companies to hand over users' personal information and the content of their communications. Although FISA was passed by elected representatives and is available for anyone to read, the way the law is used is typically kept secret. Last summer's revelations about government surveillance remind us of the challenges that secrecy can present to a democracy that relies on public debate.