Government Requests To Google Have Doubled In Four Years

In Google's Transparency Report, they have shown a 120% surge in data requests by governments worldwide over the last four years.

However, the report still omits all data collection by programs operated by clandestine agencies. This makes the data in the Google Transparency Report largely worthless. We know about programs like Prism and Muscular. We know that Google isn't even allowed to acknowledge that dragnet surveillance programs exist and if someone were to release information about the surveillance they could face serious legal consequences.

The mostly symbolic gesture by Google to release these reports is a genuine attempt at telling us what they are allowed to. The problem is that they are gagged by the government and cannot tell us of the abusive and unconstitutional programs in operation at their datacenters.

It is impossible for us to know if the NSA or GCHQ has encryption keys, or site certificates, or legally binding huge data requests behind gag orders.

This dilemma is a huge deal for Google. As the largest broker or user data in the world, losing trust in the userbase causes users to seek alternatives to Gmail, Hangouts, and other communications.

Alternative applications that employ true end-to-end encryption are on the horizon and almost ready for prime time. It will be interesting to see if these gain wide adoption, especially outside of the United States where trust in these services has been hurt the most.

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