Australian courts and governments made 523 requests for Google user information in six months

Google received 523 requests for user data from Australian courts and government agencies in the six months ending June of this year, according to figures published by the mobile and search giant.

According to its Transparency Report, the 523 requests related to 841 users and accounts, with the company fully or partially complying with 64% of requests.

As the BBC notes, during the six months covered by the report, governments around the world made a total of 20,938 requests for user data, marking a sharp increase in government surveillance of users’ online lives.

The United States holds the dubious honour of topping the list for the most requests for user data, totalling 7,969 requests, followed by India (2,319), Brazil (1,566) and France (1,546).

Aside from requests for information, Google says it received five court orders in Australia requesting the company remove 80 items in total from its websites and search engines, of which it has removed zero. The company also received eight requests from other branches of government, including government departments and the courts, requesting 12 items be removed, with the company complying with a quarter of those requests.

The court orders covered one allegedly defamatory search result, three alleged copyright violations (two in web search and one on YouTube) and one search result due to alleged breach of privacy.

The requests from other branches of government included three allegedly defamatory items (two on YouTube and one on another Google site), one violent YouTube video, one YouTube video classified as being critical of the government and three for unspecified “other” reasons.

“We received a request from [an Australian] state government agency to remove a YouTube video of statements made against members of law enforcement. We did not remove content in response to this request,” a Google statement says.

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