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Google, Google has released its transparency report for the second half of 2012, reporting requests it regularly receives from governments and courts around the world to hand over user data – for certain purposes. Google releases the report twice yearly, over a period of six months, to show to the public, how much authorities are requesting information and what they are turning in – fully or partly. Information requested includes, Gmail and Cloud Data. Thirty one countries were listed, and they include the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, India, Turkey, Chile and Israel. No African country was listed, albeit, one might expect that Egypt, South Africa or Nigeria should be included. Authorities are said to request data, for investigation, evidence, justification, and other purposes. Nigeria, a country with over 40 million on the web, and varying reasons that keep some online; some investigation and findings should require authorities to seek data from Google, but somehow they have not. The same reasons, responsible in Nigeria, maybe for the rest of Africa, where authorities are skewed towards the ‘Google source’, relenting on traditional modes of investigation. Advanced economies however, are using the Google source, and Google require them to get a warrant, and, sometimes comply with the request – partly or completely. Information from Google is helpful, and retains some oversight on web use, by the Government, to prevent or arrest crime, violence, terrorism and other costly acts. Maybe in a few years, maybe this year, maybe 2014, Nigeria, a country or some in Africa, will request to Google – and other major websites, data on web use, from certain groups or people, and they will budge, contributing in some ways to keeping the society safe.

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This article was first published on 24th January 2013 and updated on February 7th, 2013 at 9:46 am

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