Well, maybe not yours specifically, but, governments, courts, and law-enforcement agencies worldwide use data from websites like Google as evidence against targeted individuals. This is particularly true in more recent years, when most activity has moved to the digital world. In fact, in a recent statement by the search engine super-giant, requests for this data has gone up 70% in the past 3 years. With this growing trend, a question has arisen among internet users: How much data do these agencies have access to?
According to Google, no more than is absolutely necessary. Google, in particular, goes to great lengths to ensure its users’ privacy. User data requests submitted to Google are reviewed, scrutinized, and then reviewed some more. In fact, Google’s standards for releasing its user data are higher than the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA), an existing American law. For instance, the ECPA only requires a warrant for e-mails under 6 months old. Google requires the same documentation for all e-mails. Some consider these additional requirements to be an interference in legal proceedings. This has been the source of some controversy for Google, but the internet giant maintains that the fair legal protection of its users is its priority.
“We’re a law-abiding company, and we don’t want our services to be used in harmful ways,” says David Drummond, Google Chief Legal Officer and Senior Vice President. “But it’s just as important that laws protect you against overly broad requests for your personal information.”
So who decides how much information is too much? One thing is for certain, as long as the law allows, Google will continue to protect its users and their information.