Google to charge law enforcement agencies for user data requests

Humza

TechSpot Staff
Staff member

Google holds vast amounts of information on billions of users and subsequently has to comply with law enforcement and government agencies who routinely seek this data as outlined in the company's Transparency Report.

According to the New York Times, the search giant notified law enforcement officials about its plan to seek reimbursements for several types of legal processes involving Google's assistance.

Google is allowed to charge such fees from the government under Federal law, and a company's spokesperson said that the reimbursed amount would help cover some of the costs of complying with these legal requests, whose frequency and complexity have increased over the years. The publication noted that Google received over 75,000 such requests in the first half of 2019, a third of which came from the US.

The new fees could also put a curb on these legal demands. "The actual costs of doing wiretaps and responding to search warrants is high, and when you pass those costs on to the government, it deters from excessive surveillance," said Al Gidari, Google's legal representative in the past and now the consulting privacy director at Stanford’s Center for Internet and Society.

It remains to be seen if Google's decision inclines other tech companies, who've reportedly been providing user data for free, to charge for such legal requests.

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Uncle Al

TS Evangelist
On the contrary .... this should be seen as "cost of doing business" and God knows, with their profits they could easily afford it. Now, if the law allows the taxpayers to charge Google for use of data, that would make it fair ..... say, for each individual $2,000 per year, per device ..... yeah, I like that!
 
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Squid Surprise

TS Evangelist
I actually applaud this - and wish all companies had to do so AND KEEP RECORDS OF EACH PAYMENT.

This gives some accountability so that if it is later found that the person investigated was innocent, they can see who/when had access to their data.
 

trparky

TS Evangelist
What is the takeaway from this? Don't use google for ANYTHING. They will do whatever they want with your data plus make money from it, and make even more money from it to use against you.
It's called playing both sides against the middle. Time for people to buy an iPhone.
 

trparky

TS Evangelist
I would rather go without a cell phone if my only option is iPhone.
Why? Is it because you hate Apple or something else? There's a lot of people who just plain hate Apple for their relative success.
As I said above, the simple answer is don't use google.
Unfortunately, if you have an Android you're pretty much forced to use Google Services. I've said it before and I'll say it again, Android is Google's data collection Trojan horse. It is a purpose-built operating system made to do one thing, collect your data!
No thanks.
So again, like I asked @ShagnWagn ... Why? General Apple hate or something else?
 
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Plutoisaplanet

TS Maniac
Why? Is it because you hate Apple or something else? There's a lot of people who just plain hate Apple for their relative success.
The problem is that people are allergic to iPhones. If they even touch it, their body reacts negatively with unnecessary immunoresponses. Thus, it's better to have no phone at all than an iPhone. Being caught owning one could be fatal.
 
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trparky

TS Evangelist
The problem is that people are allergic to iPhones. If they even touch it, their body reacts negatively with unnecessary immunoresponses. Thus, it's better to have no phone at all than an iPhone. Being caught owning one could be fatal.
That's pretty petty of them if that's the case. I have an iPhone 11 Pro and it's quite simply the best damn phone on the market! Everything about it is just amazing. The performance of iOS, the screen, the camera, everything about it is nothing short of amazing.

What I don't get is that people complain about how many older Android devices don't get proper updates and yet there is talk about how Apple is going to support iPhones going back almost five years with the iPhone SE with iOS 14. That's five years of support people! That is quite simply unheard of in the Android world. And yet people hate on Apple. I don't get it. Apple is supporting older devices which is exactly what we as consumers should be championing yet all they receive is hate. I don't get it. They are doing what we want them to do yet all they receive back is hate.
 
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bviktor

TS Addict
That's pretty petty of them if that's the case. I have an iPhone 11 Pro and it's quite simply the best damn phone on the market! Everything about it is just amazing. The performance of iOS, the screen, the camera, everything about it is nothing short of amazing.

What I don't get is that people complain about how many older Android devices don't get proper updates and yet there is talk about how Apple is going to support iPhones going back almost five years with the iPhone SE with iOS 14. That's five years of support people! That is quite simply unheard of in the Android world. And yet people hate on Apple. I don't get it. Apple is supporting older devices which is exactly what we as consumers should be championing yet all they receive is hate. I don't get it. They are doing what we want them to do yet all they receive back is hate.
Don't mind them, it became hip to hate on Apple years ago. Herd mentality and all. Same way FB is uncool, but Tik Tok/Snapchat/Instagram/Kik/(insert random IM cr@p here) is considered cool. Don't try to find an actual reason.
 

brucek

TS Guru
As Google's letter makes clear, each production they are willing to do involves a US law requiring them to do it. The point being that "don't use Google" is the wrong response as any US operation is subject to those same laws.

If practical, you can try instead "Don't use a US based company" (although the non-US option may not be much better), or "Don't use electronic data services" (good luck in functioning in the modern economy.)
 

trparky

TS Evangelist
If practical, you can try instead "Don't use a US based company" (although the non-US option may not be much better)
Especially if you live in one of the Five Eye countries (Australia, Canada, New Zealand, United Kingdom, and of course the United States). But if you're not on any watchlist you'll be fine. They've got bigger fish to fry like people who want to commit terrorism.
 

Evernessince

地獄らしい人間動物園
It's funny that companies get more rights then citizens in the USA. Regular people get their fences run over by the cops and don't get a dime. Google collects on every search warrant. Nothing to see here, just capitalists exploiting the working class.
 

H3llion

TechSpot Paladin
What is the takeaway from this? Don't use google for ANYTHING. They will do whatever they want with your data plus make money from it, and make even more money from it to use against you.
They will have your data regardless. If you are that **** worried about all this, unplug your Internet, because hate to break it to you, you are already a product. Lol...

PS: At least I can get something in return with algorithms which optimise my experience on the web based on my data. If I could profit from my own data that would be all the more merrier.
 

ShagnWagn

TS Evangelist
Why? Is it because you hate Apple or something else? There's a lot of people who just plain hate Apple for their relative success.

Unfortunately, if you have an Android you're pretty much forced to use Google Services. I've said it before and I'll say it again, Android is Google's data collection Trojan horse. It is a purpose-built operating system made to do one thing, collect your data!

So again, like I asked @ShagnWagn ... Why? General Apple hate or something else?
Why do you assume it is hate? And why would I hate for relative success? lol. If that were the case, I wouldn't use anything successful. /facepalm. And I already said I won't use google, so your assumption is confusing. lol

It's also clear you don't know much about android to do any comparison. You are not forced to use much (if any) from google. Do some research before making claims.

No, I despise the menu system plus many other reasons. I had a work iphone for over a year and it was an absolute pain to use. Anything apple I have tried using is junk in my experience, and overpriced as anyone says except for the blind. I guess this is where I turn your assumption back on you - is it because you're an apple fanboi? There's a lot of people who just plain hate google for their relative (overwhelming) success.

FYI - My Samsung S5 is still getting updates. What is that now? about 6 years? That blows away your claim of 5 years of apple. "unheard of in the android world" LMAO
 

Squid Surprise

TS Evangelist
FYI - My Samsung S5 is still getting updates. What is that now? about 6 years? That blows away your claim of 5 years of apple. "unheard of in the android world" LMAO
Updates... but not UPGRADES.... cause I'm pretty sure you can't go past Android 6.... What's Android at now? 10? Can you upgrade your S5 to that? Don't think so...
 

Athlonite

TS Booster
That's pretty petty of them if that's the case. I have an iPhone 11 Pro and it's quite simply the best damn phone on the market! Everything about it is just amazing. The performance of iOS, the screen, the camera, everything about it is nothing short of amazing.

What I don't get is that people complain about how many older Android devices don't get proper updates and yet there is talk about how Apple is going to support iPhones going back almost five years with the iPhone SE with iOS 14. That's five years of support people! That is quite simply unheard of in the Android world. And yet people hate on Apple. I don't get it. Apple is supporting older devices which is exactly what we as consumers should be championing yet all they receive is hate. I don't get it. They are doing what we want them to do yet all they receive back is hate.
Until you go to collect on said 5yrs of support and suddenly find it doesn't exist without a cost try watching some of Mr Rossman's videos on YT and you'll soon learn to hate everything apple
 
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wiyosaya

TS Evangelist
Why? Is it because you hate Apple or something else? There's a lot of people who just plain hate Apple for their relative success.
And there is a lot of people who hate crApple because of their questionable ethics, such as Steve Jobs "borrowing" ideas from Xerox PARC and developers having to pay royalties to use a locked-down ecosystem, or hardware problems resulting in users being told "You're holding it wrong." And let's not forget paying slave labor wages while having hundreds of billions of dollars in their bank account.

But with everyone selling their soul to crApple for their I-Fix, I guess that makes the company's unethical practices perfectly fine. 🙄
 

trparky

TS Evangelist
developers having to pay royalties to use a locked-down ecosystem
Someone has to pay for those apps to be approved by the App Store team.

Even developers have to pay to put their app on the Google Play Store however it’s only a one-time fee which doesn’t at all stop people spamming the Google Play Store with copycat apps, viruses, and other such nonsense.

When it’s more expensive like in Apple’s App Store it’s not economical to spam it with bad apps.
 

mailpup

TS Special Forces
I think it's only fair that agencies pay for their requests as allowed by federal law. On the reverse side, in a government office I worked for we would sometimes get requests for all of our records. The problem was that these records numbered 8-900,000. By law we were required to charge a nominal feel for printouts but with so many records it amounted to thousands of dollars. To minimize frivolous requests and the attendant waste of resources, we required a deposit of approximately half of the fee up front. Not surprisingly we never received any follow up from anyone.