We have updated our Transparency Report on government requests for user data with information for the second half of 2015 (July – December). Google is proud to have led the charge on publishing these reports, helping shed light on government surveillance laws and practices across the world.
We’re pleased with some of the improvements we’ve seen in surveillance laws. The European Commission and the United States recently agreed on the Privacy Shield agreement, which includes new undertakings covering procedural protections for surveillance efforts. Earlier this year, President Obama signed the Judicial Redress Act into law, which Google strongly supported. The law creates a process for extending procedural protections under the Privacy Act of 1974 to non-U.S. persons. This shift helps address concerns about the ability of non-U.S. persons to redress grievances concerning data collected and stored by the U.S. government under U.S. law. Indeed, the distinctions that U.S. privacy and surveillance laws make between U.S. and non-U.S. persons are increasingly obsolete in a world where communications primarily take place over a global medium: the Internet.
There are other important steps that the U.S. can take to ensure that the privacy interests of non-U.S. persons are addressed as policymakers consider government surveillance issues. We helped create the Reform Government Surveillance coalition to encourage Congress and the executive branch to take steps to modernize U.S. surveillance laws, further protect the privacy and data security rights of all users, including those outside the US and those not of US nationality, and improve diplomatic processes to promote a robust, principled, and transparent framework for legitimate cross-border investigations.
Google looks forward to working on the future rules and standards in countries around the world that, like the Judicial Redress Act, respect the rights of users wherever they may be.