Google Celebrates ‘Data Privacy Day’ By Discussing Its Practice of Turning Over Data to Government

by DANIEL HALPER, The Weekly Standard  |  published on January 30, 2013

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Google celebrated “Data Privacy Day,” which is today, according to Google, by explaining its practice of turning over data to the government. Last week, Google revealed that it complies with government requests for data 88 percent of the time.

“If it’s like most other days, Google—like many companies that provide online services to users—will receive dozens of letters, faxes and emails from government agencies and courts around the world requesting access to our users’ private account information. Typically this happens in connection with government investigations,” writes Google in a press release.

“It’s important for law enforcement agencies to pursue illegal activity and keep the public safe. We’re a law-abiding company, and we don’t want our services to be used in harmful ways. But it’s just as important that laws protect you against overly broad requests for your personal information.”

To strike this balance, we’re focused on three initiatives that I’d like to share, so you know what Google is doing to protect your privacy and security.

First, for several years we have advocated for updating laws like the U.S. Electronic Communications Privacy Act, so the same protections that apply to your personal documents that you keep in your home also apply to your email and online documents. We’ll continue this effort strongly in 2013 through our membership in theDigital Due Process coalition and other initiatives.

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