Google has added the data from the first half of 2016 to its ongoing Transparency Report page, and the changes are pretty much what you’d expect: more requests. Some frivolous, some legit, some top secret.
Requests for user information jumped to a record total of 44,943 (up from the previous six months’ 40,677), with the U.S. leading the pack, as usual, with 30,123 of those — second place goes to Germany, then France a distant third, with India and the U.K. at her heels.
New to the board: Algeria, Belarus, Cayman Islands, El Salvador, Fiji and Saudi Arabia. Welcome! None produced more than a handful of requests, though.
An average of 64 percent of those requests were granted, though Google doesn’t (and in most cases can’t) give details of which accounts and data were requested.
The statistics for content removal requests are more detailed, but that data is still from late 2015; I’m sure we can expect updated numbers there soon.
Richard Salgado, the company’s director of law enforcement and information security, did note in a blog post that a single National Security Letter was made public, changing the numbers of NSLs received in the second half of 2015: what was once 0-499 is now 1-499. Smells like freedom!
On the other hand, Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act requests increased in the same period, to somewhere north of 21,000 — considerably more than the year’s first half, which had around 16,000. We won’t know 2016’s numbers for a while, as there’s a mandatory six-month delay on reporting them. It’s been a more or less continuous climb since 2009, so don’t expect the numbers to go down, or if they do, not by much.