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Google’S Approach To Authorities Requests For User Data

Today, Jan 28, is Data Privacy Day, when the globe recognizes the importance of preserving your online privacy together with security.

If it’s similar most other days, Google—like many companies that furnish online services to users—will have dozens of letters, faxes together with emails from regime agencies together with courts merely about the globe requesting access to our users’ individual line concern human relationship information. Typically this happens inward connector alongside regime investigations.

It’s of import for police line enforcement agencies to pursue illegal action together with maintain Earth safe. We’re a law-abiding company, together with nosotros don’t desire our services to endure used inward harmful ways. But it’s merely every bit of import that laws protect y'all against overly wide requests for your personal information.

To arrive at this balance, we’re focused on 3 initiatives that I’d similar to share, then y'all know what Google is doing to protect your privacy together with security.

First, for several years nosotros convey advocated for updating laws similar the United States Electronic Communications Privacy Act, then the same protections that apply to your personal documents that y'all maintain inward your habitation likewise apply to your e-mail together with online documents. We’ll croak along this examine strongly inward 2013 through our membership inward the Digital Due Process coalition together with other initiatives.

Second, we’ll croak along our long-standing strict procedure for treatment these kinds of requests. When regime agencies inquire for our users’ personal information—like what y'all furnish when y'all sign upward for a Google Account, or the contents of an email—our squad does several things:
  • We scrutinize the asking carefully to brand certain it satisfies the police line together with our policies. For us to consider complying, it by together with large must endure made inward writing, signed past times an authorized official of the requesting way together with issued nether an appropriate law.
  • We evaluate the compass of the request. If it’s overly broad, nosotros may turn down to furnish the information or seek to narrow the request. We produce this frequently.
  • We notify users near legal demands when appropriate then that they tin give the sack contact the entity requesting it or consult a lawyer. Sometimes nosotros can’t, either because we’re legally prohibited (in which instance nosotros sometimes attempt to elevator gag orders or unseal search warrants) or nosotros don’t convey their verified contact information.
  • We need that regime agencies conducting criminal investigations purpose a search warrant to compel us to furnish a user’s search inquiry information together with individual content stored inward a Google Account—such every bit Gmail messages, documents, photos together with YouTube videos. We believe a warrant is required past times the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which prohibits unreasonable search together with seizure together with overrides conflicting provisions inward ECPA.
And third, nosotros function difficult to furnish y'all alongside information near regime requests. Today, for example, we’ve added a novel data showing that regime requests croak along to rise, along alongside additional details on the United States legal processes—such every bit subpoenas, courtroom orders together with warrants—that governments purpose to compel us to furnish this information.

We’re proud of our approach, together with nosotros believe it’s the correct mode to brand certain governments tin give the sack pursue legitimate investigations spell nosotros produce our best to protect your privacy together with security.


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