Gov’t Spied on 12,000+ User Accounts in Six Months, Google Says

Numbers steadily climbed from January 2009 through December 2012.

Google has released Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) information requests for the first time thanks to a lawsuit filed last year, says Google’s blog.

“Under FISA, the government may apply for orders from a special FISA Court to require U.S. companies to hand over users’ personal information and the content of their communications,” the blog reads. “Although FISA was passed by elected representatives and is available for anyone to read, the way the law is used is typically kept secret.”

Per the data, the government made content requests to peek at 12,000 to 12,999 users or accounts during the peak period of July to December 2012. Those requests appeared to build in number since January 2009, with another one or two thousand being tacked on every six months.

The content requests decreased to 9,000 to 9,999 users or accounts in the first half of last year. Numbers are not yet available for July 2013 onward.

For every six month reporting period from January 2009 to June 2013, the government made less than 1,000 non-content requests and content requests. Fewer than 1,000 users and accounts were subject to non-content requests for each six-month period.

The blog post doesn’t specify the difference between content and non-content requests. We are awaiting clarification from Google.

Google isn’t done fighting for more transparency. The company is also fighting for the right to disclose specific numbers, rather than ranges of a thousand. They’re seeking more legislation to enable them to do that.

“You have the right to know how laws affect the security of your information online,” reads the blog post. “We’ll keep fighting for your ability to exercise that right by pushing for greater transparency around the world. 

Gov’t Spied on 12,000+ User Accounts in Six Months, Google Says