What Google's Transparency Report doesn't tell us
Concerns about these laws recently prompted the European Parliament's Directorate General for Internal Policies to warn companies in the EU about the potential privacy implications of having their data hosted with U.S cloud services.
Google itself appears to be digging its heels in a bit. Google spokesman Chris Gaither said the company has been making an effort to ensure that all government requests for data follow the law and are not overly broad. "We notify users about legal demands when appropriate, unless prohibited by law or court order. And if we believe a request is overly broad, we seek to narrow it -- like when we persuaded a court to drastically limit a U.S. government request for two months' of user search queries," he said via email.
Gaither noted that Google has insisted on government agencies getting an ECPA search warrant based on probable cause for access to stored contents of Gmail and other Google services.
The type of information that Google provides varies quite a bit, Gaither he said. For example, a valid ECPA subpoena for a Gmail address could compel Google to disclose the name listed when creating the account, and the IP address from which the user created the account and signed in and signed out, along with all relevant dates and times, Gaither said.
Similarly, a valid ECPA court order could compel Google to disclose the IP address associated with a particular email sent from that account or used to change the account password, along with the non-content portion of email heads such as the "from," "to" and "date" fields, he noted. "A valid ECPA warrant could compel us to disclose stored content such as the contents of a Gmail account," he said.
Greg Nojeim, senior counsel for the Center for Democracy and Technology, said that the latest transparency report shows that Google's refusal to comply with law enforcement demands has gone up in the last two years -- even as the number of demands for data nearly doubled.
A "hat tip to Google for releasing this important information," Nojeim said. "This shows not only that law enforcement demands are skyrocketing, but that [the] proportion of those demands that are inappropriate may also be increasing. The data contribute to an already compelling case for Congress to take up ECPA reform to protect user privacy."
Jaikumar Vijayan covers data security and privacy issues, financial services security and e-voting for Computerworld. Follow Jaikumar on Twitter at @jaivijayan or subscribe to Jaikumar's RSS feed . His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Franken presses Ford on location data collection practices
- Justices let stand appeals court decision on border searches of laptops
- California lawmakers move to bar state help to NSA
- Appeals court again nixes Google's bid to overturn Street View case
- Older Mac webcams can spy without activating warning light
- Update: Judge rules NSA spy efforts may be unconstitutional
- Perspective: Privacy concerns could keep Amazon delivery drones grounded
- NSA collects data from millions of cellphones daily
- Perspective: Curbing data use is key to reining in NSA
- Lavabit-DOJ dispute zeroes in on encryption key ownership
Read more about Privacy in Computerworld's Privacy Topic Center.
- 15 Non-Certified IT Skills Growing in Demand
- How 19 Tech Titans Target Healthcare
- Twitter Suffering From Growing Pains (and Facebook Comparisons)
- Agile Comes to Data Integration
- Slideshow: 7 security mistakes people make with their mobile device
- iOS vs. Android: Which is more secure?
- 11 sure signs you've been hacked
- Mobile Policy Checklist Here's what to consider when putting together a mobile policy designed to support a highly productive workforce.
- Securing BYOD Mobile computing is becoming so ubiquitous that people no longer bat an eye seeing someone working two devices simultaneously. Individuals and organizations are...
- Gartner Report: A Guide to Gartner's Enterprise Mobile Security Self-Assessment Gartner introduces a model and a Toolkit intended to help mobility and security IT leaders assess their enterprise mobility programs from a security...
- Gartner Report: Containing Mobile Security Risks With the 80/20 Rule IT planners can deliver better mobile protection with higher user satisfaction by segmenting users into risk groups before committing to specific management or...
- Live Webcast On-demand webinar: "Mobility Mayhem: Balancing BYOD with Enterprise Security" Check out this on-demand webinar to hear Sophos senior security expert John Shier deep dive into how BYOD impacts your enterprise security strategy...
- Live Webcast Endpoint Backup & Restore: Protect Everyone, Everywhere Arek Sokol from the bleeding-edge IT team at Genentech/Roche explains how he leverages cross-platform enterprise endpoint backup in the public cloud as part...
- Streamline Software Asset Management, Compose a software Management Symphony Keeping track of your organization's software is easy with effective software management solutions from CDW. View the videos in our software solutions channel
- Druva inSync: Endpoint Data Protection & Governance CLICK HERE to watch this video about protecting corporate data on laptops and mobile devices, sponsored by Druva. All Security White Papers | Webcasts