Careful what you search for…
Until Edward Snowden blew the whistle on government spying, most Americans were blissfully unaware of how much of our personal lives is monitored by ‘Big Brother’ in the guise of national security.
His alarming revelations made headlines for several news cycles, but it appears that computer users and the government have gone back to ‘business as usual’. Users continue their web surfing and Internet searches unabated, and government agencies continue their surveillance for our security. In fact, according to recent reports, the government has stepped up its efforts in monitoring. Mohilay (2016) writes “Google’s latest transparency report shows increasing government requests for individual data”. The government requests have grown over the years to be sure. Mohilay notes that “The number of state backed requests for user data have seen a percentage increase in the triple digits, ever since Google began first publishing these reports”.
According to phys.org/news, “Google said governments around the world made 40,677 requests related to more than 81,000 accounts in the July-December period. That compared with just over 35,000 requests in the prior six-month period on nearly 69,000 accounts.” The greatest information requests from Google were from the US – 12,523 requests, Germany – 7,491, France – 4,174, and the UK with 3,497 requests.
This information released by Google will naturally fan the flames of the privacy vs security debate with both sides of the issue trying to advance their positions. While that battle rages keep in mind that what this all means is that users should continue to surf and search, but do so responsibly, always keeping in mind that what you do on the Internet can be monitored by others.
Mohilay, M. (2016), Google’s latest transparency report shows increasing government requests for individual data. Retrieved from the Internet at http://thetechportal.com/2016/07/20/googles-latest-transparency-report-shows-increasing-government-requests-for-individual-data/