Tag Archives: Public Policy

An international framework for digital evidence

Today, we’re releasing the latest version of our Transparency Report regarding government requests for user data. In the second half of 2016, we received over 45,000 government requests for user data worldwide. This is the most government requests we’ve received for user data in a six-month period since we released our first transparency report in 2010.

In many ways, this shouldn’t be surprising. As more people use more of our services, and as we offer new ones, it is natural that we are seeing an increase in government requests. For example, Gmail had around 425 million active users in 2012, and more than 1 billion by 2016. And as digital evidence increasingly becomes part of criminal investigations, other companies are seeing similar trends. We of course continue to require appropriate legal process for these requests, and resist overbroad requests not narrowly calibrated to legitimate law enforcement requirements.  

Cross-border requests for data continue to increase over time as well, from 30,755 requests from countries other than the United States in the first half of 2016 to 31,877 in the second half of the year. This underscores the need for an improved international framework that meets legitimate law enforcement needs and ensures high standards of due process, privacy and human rights. The Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) process facilitates the production of digital evidence in cross-border investigations (when the crime occurs in one country but data is held by a company in another country). But the MLAT process is too often slow and cumbersome: on average, it takes 10 months to process an MLAT request in the United States.  That’s a long time for an investigator to wait.

Without better and faster ways to collect cross-border evidence, countries will be tempted to take unilateral actions to deal with a fundamentally multilateral problem. A sustainable framework for handling digital evidence in legitimate cross-border investigations will help avoid a chaotic, conflicting patchwork of data location proposals and ad hoc surveillance measures that may threaten user privacy and generate uncertainty for users and businesses, all without fundamentally advancing legitimate law enforcement and national security interests.

We believe that governments can develop solutions that appropriately balance the various interests at stake. This includes respecting the legitimate privacy rights of users, wherever they are, as well as the obligations of governments to investigate crimes and protect their residents. These issues must be addressed by a broad group of stakeholders, including governments, citizens, civil society groups and providers of information services that cross national borders.

This discussion will raise difficult questions about the scope of government surveillance powers, the extent of digital jurisdiction, the importance of rapid investigations, and privacy rights in the Internet age — fundamental issues that can’t be adequately addressed by courts using antiquated legal standards or by governments acting in an ad hoc fashion.

We look forward to sharing more thoughts about the legal frameworks that can address some of these challenges in the coming weeks and months. And we look forward to working with relevant stakeholders to craft viable and lasting solutions.

An international framework for digital evidence

Today, we’re releasing the latest version of our Transparency Report regarding government requests for user data. In the second half of 2016, we received over 45,000 government requests for user data worldwide. This is the most government requests we’ve received for user data in a six-month period since we released our first transparency report in 2010.

In many ways, this shouldn’t be surprising. As more people use more of our services, and as we offer new ones, it is natural that we are seeing an increase in government requests. For example, Gmail had around 425 million active users in 2012, and more than 1 billion by 2016. And as digital evidence increasingly becomes part of criminal investigations, other companies are seeing similar trends. We of course continue to require appropriate legal process for these requests, resist overbroad requests not narrowly calibrated to legitimate law enforcement requirements, and reform modernization of data surveillance laws.  

Cross-border requests for data continue to account for a substantial portion of overall requests, with over 31,000 in the second half of 2016 coming from outside of the United States.. This volume underscores the need for an improved international framework that meets legitimate law enforcement needs and ensures high standards of due process, privacy and human rights. The Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) process facilitates the production of digital evidence in cross-border investigations (when the crime occurs in one country but data is held by a company in another country). But the MLAT process is often slow and cumbersome: on average, it takes 10 months to process an MLAT request in the United States. That’s a long time for an investigator to wait.

Without better and faster ways to collect cross-border evidence, countries will be tempted to take unilateral actions to deal with a fundamentally multilateral problem. A sustainable framework for handling digital evidence in legitimate cross-border investigations will help avoid a chaotic, conflicting patchwork of data location proposals and ad hoc surveillance measures that may threaten privacy and generate uncertainty, without fundamentally advancing legitimate law enforcement and national security interests.

We believe that governments can develop solutions that appropriately balance the various interests at stake. This includes respecting the legitimate privacy rights of users, wherever they are, as well as the obligations of governments to investigate crimes and protect their residents. The conversation should include a broad group of stakeholders, including not just law enforcement and national security perspectives, but also the voices of citizens, civil society groups and providers of information services that cross national borders.

This discussion will raise difficult questions about the scope of government surveillance powers, the extent of digital jurisdiction, the importance of rapid investigations, and privacy rights in the Internet age—fundamental issues that can’t be adequately addressed by courts using antiquated legal standards or by governments acting in an ad hoc fashion.

We look forward to sharing more thoughts about the legal frameworks that can address some of these challenges in the coming weeks and months. And we look forward to working with relevant stakeholders to craft viable and lasting solutions.  

Introducing PAX: the Android Networked Cross-License Agreement

In Latin, the word pax means “peace.” In the world of intellectual property, patent peace often coincides with innovation and healthy competition that benefit consumers. It is with a hope for such benefits that we are announcing our newest patent licensing initiative focusing on patent peace, which we call PAX.  

Under PAX, members grant each other royalty-free patent licenses covering Android and Google Applications on qualified devices. This community-driven clearinghouse, developed together with our Android partners, ensures that innovation and consumer choice—not patent threats—will continue to be key drivers of our Android ecosystem. PAX is free to join and open to anyone.

Already, Android is distributed under open-source licenses that allow anyone to use it for free. This openness has resulted in enormous choice for manufacturers and users. The Android ecosystem has grown to include more than 400 partner manufacturers and 500 carriers who have produced more than 4,000 major devices in the last year alone with an astounding 1.6 billion active users. We believe PAX will further expand the openness of Android for its members, promoting patent peace that will free up time and money for members, who can then dedicate those resources to creating new ideas.

PAX members currently include Google, Samsung Electronics, LG Electronics, Foxconn Technology Group, HMD Global, HTC, Coolpad, BQ, and Allview. The members collectively own more than 230,000 patents worldwide. As more companies join, PAX will bring even more patent peace and value to its members through more freedom to innovate.  

PAX is the latest innovative licensing effort that Google has helped develop in order to provide balanced patent solutions. Other efforts include the LOT Network and the Open Patent Non-assertion Pledge, as well as our participation in such initiatives as the Open Invention Network and IP3 run by Allied Security Trust. Initiatives like these—and PAX—are among the many ways Google contributes to fair and balanced patent systems across an interconnected world.  

We encourage interested companies, large and small, around the world to join us in PAX and enjoy patent peace. To learn more, please visit the PAX website.

Introducing PAX: the Android Networked Cross-License Agreement

In Latin, the word pax means “peace.” In the world of intellectual property, patent peace often coincides with innovation and healthy competition that benefit consumers. It is with a hope for such benefits that we are announcing our newest patent licensing initiative focusing on patent peace, which we call PAX.  

Under PAX, members grant each other royalty-free patent licenses covering Android and Google Applications on qualified devices. This community-driven clearinghouse, developed together with our Android partners, ensures that innovation and consumer choice—not patent threats—will continue to be key drivers of our Android ecosystem. PAX is free to join and open to anyone.

Already, Android is distributed under open-source licenses that allow anyone to use it for free. This openness has resulted in enormous choice for manufacturers and users. The Android ecosystem has grown to include more than 400 partner manufacturers and 500 carriers who have produced more than 4,000 major devices in the last year alone with an astounding 1.6 billion active users. We believe PAX will further expand the openness of Android for its members, promoting patent peace that will free up time and money for members, who can then dedicate those resources to creating new ideas.

PAX members currently include Google, Samsung Electronics, LG Electronics, Foxconn Technology Group, HMD Global, HTC, Coolpad, BQ, and Allview. The members collectively own more than 230,000 patents worldwide. As more companies join, PAX will bring even more patent peace and value to its members through more freedom to innovate.  

PAX is the latest innovative licensing effort that Google has helped develop in order to provide balanced patent solutions. Other efforts include the LOT Network and the Open Patent Non-assertion Pledge, as well as our participation in such initiatives as the Open Invention Network and IP3 run by Allied Security Trust. Initiatives like these—and PAX—are among the many ways Google contributes to fair and balanced patent systems across an interconnected world.  

We encourage interested companies, large and small, around the world to join us in PAX and enjoy patent peace. To learn more, please visit the PAX website.

Introducing PAX: the Android Networked Cross-License Agreement

In Latin, the word pax means “peace.” In the world of intellectual property, patent peace often coincides with innovation and healthy competition that benefit consumers. It is with a hope for such benefits that we are announcing our newest patent licensing initiative focusing on patent peace, which we call PAX.  

Under PAX, members grant each other royalty-free patent licenses covering Android and Google Applications on qualified devices. This community-driven clearinghouse, developed together with our Android partners, ensures that innovation and consumer choice—not patent threats—will continue to be key drivers of our Android ecosystem. PAX is free to join and open to anyone.

Already, Android is distributed under open-source licenses that allow anyone to use it for free. This openness has resulted in enormous choice for manufacturers and users. The Android ecosystem has grown to include more than 400 partner manufacturers and 500 carriers who have produced more than 4,000 major devices in the last year alone with an astounding 1.6 billion active users. We believe PAX will further expand the openness of Android for its members, promoting patent peace that will free up time and money for members, who can then dedicate those resources to creating new ideas.

PAX members currently include Google, Samsung Electronics, LG Electronics, Foxconn Technology Group, HMD Global, HTC, Coolpad, BQ, and Allview. The members collectively own more than 230,000 patents worldwide. As more companies join, PAX will bring even more patent peace and value to its members through more freedom to innovate.  

PAX is the latest innovative licensing effort that Google has helped develop in order to provide balanced patent solutions. Other efforts include the LOT Network and the Open Patent Non-assertion Pledge, as well as our participation in such initiatives as the Open Invention Network and IP3 run by Allied Security Trust. Initiatives like these—and PAX—are among the many ways Google contributes to fair and balanced patent systems across an interconnected world.  

We encourage interested companies, large and small, around the world to join us in PAX and enjoy patent peace. To learn more, please visit the PAX website.

2017 Google North America Public Policy Fellowship now accepting applications

The intersection of innovation and technology has never been more exciting. Over the last few of summers, we’ve shared this excitement with students from all over the U.S. who have participated in Google’s Public Policy Fellowship. The students are given the opportunity to work  at a diverse group of organizations and think tanks at the forefront of addressing some of today’s most challenging policy questions. Whether working on data security standards at a leading consumer group or innovation economy issues at a preeminent think tank, students gain hands-on experience tackling critical technology policy issues.

We’re excited to announce the 2017 North America Google Policy Fellowship, a paid fellowship that will continue to connect students interested in emerging technology policy issues with leading nonprofits, think tanks, and advocacy groups in Washington, DC and California. Below are the basic application guidelines. More specific information, including a list of this year’s hosts, can be found here.

  • You must be 18 years of age or older by January 1, 2017.

  • In order to participate in the program, you must be a student. Google defines a student as an individual enrolled in or accepted into an accredited institution including (but not necessarily limited to) colleges, universities, masters programs, PhD programs and undergraduate programs.

  • Eligibility is based on enrollment in an accredited university by January 1, 2017.You must be eligible and authorized to work in the country of your fellowship.

  • Program timeline is June 5th - August 11th, with regular programming throughout the summer.  

  • The application period opens today for the North America region and all applications must be received by 12:00AM midnight ET, Friday, March 24th.  

Acceptance will be announced the week of April 18th.  More fellowship opportunities in Asia, Africa, and Europe will be coming soon. You can learn about the program, application process and host organizations on the Google Public Policy Fellowship website.

2017 Google North America Public Policy Fellowship now accepting applications

The intersection of innovation and technology has never been more exciting. Over the last few of summers, we’ve shared this excitement with students from all over the U.S. who have participated in Google’s Public Policy Fellowship. The students are given the opportunity to work  at a diverse group of organizations and think tanks at the forefront of addressing some of today’s most challenging policy questions. Whether working on data security standards at a leading consumer group or innovation economy issues at a preeminent think tank, students gain hands-on experience tackling critical technology policy issues.

We’re excited to announce the 2017 North America Google Policy Fellowship, a paid fellowship that will continue to connect students interested in emerging technology policy issues with leading nonprofits, think tanks, and advocacy groups in Washington, DC and California. Below are the basic application guidelines. More specific information, including a list of this year’s hosts, can be found here.

  • You must be 18 years of age or older by January 1, 2017.

  • In order to participate in the program, you must be a student. Google defines a student as an individual enrolled in or accepted into an accredited institution including (but not necessarily limited to) colleges, universities, masters programs, PhD programs and undergraduate programs.

  • Eligibility is based on enrollment in an accredited university by January 1, 2017.You must be eligible and authorized to work in the country of your fellowship.

  • Program timeline is June 5th - August 11th, with regular programming throughout the summer.  

  • The application period opens today for the North America region and all applications must be received by 12:00AM midnight ET, Friday, March 24th.  

Acceptance will be announced the week of April 18th.  More fellowship opportunities in Asia, Africa, and Europe will be coming soon. You can learn about the program, application process and host organizations on the Google Public Policy Fellowship website.

2017 Google North America Public Policy Fellowship now accepting applications

The intersection of innovation and technology has never been more exciting. Over the last few of summers, we’ve shared this excitement with students from all over the U.S. who have participated in Google’s Public Policy Fellowship. The students are given the opportunity to work  at a diverse group of organizations and think tanks at the forefront of addressing some of today’s most challenging policy questions. Whether working on data security standards at a leading consumer group or innovation economy issues at a preeminent think tank, students gain hands-on experience tackling critical technology policy issues.

We’re excited to announce the 2017 North America Google Policy Fellowship, a paid fellowship that will continue to connect students interested in emerging technology policy issues with leading nonprofits, think tanks, and advocacy groups in Washington, DC and California. Below are the basic application guidelines. More specific information, including a list of this year’s hosts, can be found here.

  • You must be 18 years of age or older by January 1, 2017.

  • In order to participate in the program, you must be a student. Google defines a student as an individual enrolled in or accepted into an accredited institution including (but not necessarily limited to) colleges, universities, masters programs, PhD programs and undergraduate programs.

  • Eligibility is based on enrollment in an accredited university by January 1, 2017.You must be eligible and authorized to work in the country of your fellowship.

  • Program timeline is June 5th - August 11th, with regular programming throughout the summer.  

  • The application period opens today for the North America region and all applications must be received by 12:00AM midnight ET, Friday, March 24th.  

Acceptance will be announced the week of April 18th.  More fellowship opportunities in Asia, Africa, and Europe will be coming soon. You can learn about the program, application process and host organizations on the Google Public Policy Fellowship website.

By Washington’s teeth! U.S. presidential history, now on Google Arts & Culture

Did you know that the Bush Family has a favorite taco recipe, which First Lady Barbara Bush described as “loved by all who love Mexican food”? Or that George Washington’s dentures were not made of wood as is popularly thought, but actually from human and cow teeth as well as ivory? Or how about that, to celebrate his Inauguration, Theodore Roosevelt received a lock of president Lincoln’s hair as a gift?

No, we’re not presidential scholars; we’re just excited for Presidents’ Day! Today, as a follow-up to our American Democracy collection, Google Arts & Culture is partnering with more than 30 cultural institutions to bring you history from the United States presidency, available at g.co/americandemocracy.

With over 2,000 new artifacts, photos, pictures and more, and 63 new exhibits (for 158 exhibits, total) this collection invites you to remember and celebrate the history, lives and legacies of the 44 U.S. presidents. Take an immersive tour of presidents’ iconic homes and get a sneak peek into their private lives—from childhood and family life, to favorite pastimes and chefs—in addition to their public accomplishments.

GAC_PresidentsPets.png
Explore the weird world of the presidential pets—other than dogs, there have been raccoons, sheep, horses, badgers, and even a pygmy hippopotamus and elephants.

You can view 25 presidential portraits captured using Google’s Art Camera. These gigapixel quality images allow you to zoom in and explore details of these portraits more thoroughly than you could with the naked eye.

Eisenhower_Portrait.png
Dwight D. Eisenhower, 35th president of the United States.

We’re making available 17 new 360-degree virtual tours that transport you to places full of presidential history. Using the Google Arts & Culture App (available on iOS and Android) and Google Cardboard, take a virtual tour of places like the home of Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site. And, in addition, educators can use Google Expeditions to take students on a guided tour of the White House, right from their desks! There are 14 Google Expeditions relating to the Office of the President, including Presidential Museums and work by the First Ladies, all great trips for students across grades and subjects.

White House Cardboard Screenshot.png
Take a virtual reality tour of the White House, right from wherever you are.

Ever wonder what it’s like to travel like POTUS? Take a look at Ronald Reagan’s Air Force One (now housed in his Presidential Library) and other ways presidents have traveled in safety and style.

Our Presidents’ Day collection covers the vast political and personal histories of our U.S. heads of state, full of intriguing and surprising stories that allow for anyone with an internet connection to turn into a presidential historian. We hope you enjoy!

By Washington’s teeth! U.S. presidential history, now on Google Arts & Culture

Did you know that the Bush Family has a favorite taco recipe, which First Lady Barbara Bush described as “loved by all who love Mexican food”? Or that George Washington’s dentures were not made of wood as is popularly thought, but actually from human and cow teeth as well as ivory? Or how about that, to celebrate his Inauguration, Theodore Roosevelt received a lock of president Lincoln’s hair as a gift?

No, we’re not presidential scholars; we’re just excited for Presidents’ Day! Today, as a follow-up to our American Democracy collection, Google Arts & Culture is partnering with more than 30 cultural institutions to bring you history from the United States presidency, available at g.co/americandemocracy.

With over 2,000 new artifacts, photos, pictures and more, and 63 new exhibits (for 158 exhibits, total) this collection invites you to remember and celebrate the history, lives and legacies of the 44 U.S. presidents. Take an immersive tour of presidents’ iconic homes and get a sneak peek into their private lives—from childhood and family life, to favorite pastimes and chefs—in addition to their public accomplishments.

GAC_PresidentsPets.png
Explore the weird world of the presidential pets—other than dogs, there have been raccoons, sheep, horses, badgers, and even a pygmy hippopotamus and elephants.

You can view 25 presidential portraits captured using Google’s Art Camera. These gigapixel quality images allow you to zoom in and explore details of these portraits more thoroughly than you could with the naked eye.

Eisenhower_Portrait.png
Dwight D. Eisenhower, 35th president of the United States.

We’re making available 17 new 360-degree virtual tours that transport you to places full of presidential history. Using the Google Arts & Culture App (available on iOS and Android) and Google Cardboard, take a virtual tour of places like the home of Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site. And, in addition, educators can use Google Expeditions to take students on a guided tour of the White House, right from their desks! There are 14 Google Expeditions relating to the Office of the President, including Presidential Museums and work by the First Ladies, all great trips for students across grades and subjects.

White House Cardboard Screenshot.png
Take a virtual reality tour of the White House, right from wherever you are.

Ever wonder what it’s like to travel like POTUS? Take a look at Ronald Reagan’s Air Force One (now housed in his Presidential Library) and other ways presidents have traveled in safety and style.

Our Presidents’ Day collection covers the vast political and personal histories of our U.S. heads of state, full of intriguing and surprising stories that allow for anyone with an internet connection to turn into a presidential historian. We hope you enjoy!