back to article UK almost tops international Google-snoop league

British authorities demand more data on Google users per capita than almost any other major democracy, newly-published figures have revealed. The dominant search engine received 1,166 requests for private user data from British government organisations - the vast majority very likely from police and the intelligence agencies …


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  1. Eponymous Cowherd
    Big Brother

    The sad thing is....

    I'm not at all surprised by this.

    We need an "Anything but Labour" option on the ballot papers.

    1. mmiied

      "Anything but Labour"

      I beleve they are all the boxes that do not say "labor party candate" on them

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Big Brother

      I am not surprised either

      We have the most CCTV cameras

      They want us to have mandatory ID cards

      Then there's the ID database (plus PNC, NHS etc etc)

      They want to impose EVSC/ISA (whatever they're calling it today)

      They want continual vehicle tracking with the above (roadside APNR simply isn't enough)

      The list goes one, it's depressing.

      The option should be "Anything but Labour, so long as it is not Green". The only people more authoritarian and anti-liberty than Labour are the Greenies.

    3. Anonymous Coward

      ...that all parties are equally invasive?

      @from "Posted Wednesday 21st April 2010 10:51 GMT"

      Seriously, after the CCTV madness of started in the 1980s lets all settle for anyone but the current choice of Tory/Labour, and of course lets throw the hypocritical civil service (i.e., we must know you, but you can't know us). The only shock with this report is that the numbers are not far worse, but if the security forces where that kind of zealous I guess there would be less dead Brazilians.

    4. Piggy and Tazzy
      Big Brother

      I'm not surprised either

      It was almost to be expected.

      1. Anonymous Coward


        The I.T. arm of the Daily Mail confirmed...

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        re not say "labor party candate" on them

        Wrong country. The election is in Great Britain, hence the original post.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          get with the programme

          the mail are currently trying to do a hatchet job on the lib dems, not labour.

          the best bit is (judging by the amount of anti-clegg stories they're running) that they are absolutely terrified of the lib dems recent popularity surge.

          nice comment on it here:

      3. Anonymous Coward

        What the F**k, think before you comment

        @anonymous coward

        "The option should be "Anything but Labour, so long as it is not Green". "

        Are you kidding! And let the tories in! Can you remeber the 80's at all!!!

        Yeah, we really wanna go back there. NOT!

        Because we enjoy freedoms, not given to the majority of human beings on this rock, were a target for nutters.

        So yes, surveilance is necessary.

        1. Maty

          obviously ...not

          "Because we enjoy freedoms ... surveilance is necessary."

          Seriously dude, are you smoking something?

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Brazilian authorities

    "If calculated as a proportion of total internet users - the UK has an estimated 42.7 million - then Brazilian authorities top the league, with their British counterparts shaded into second. On the same basis the French rank third and the US fifth."

    I suspect that may be more to do with the drugs trade making up a large chunk of the rich tech savvie part of socioty (Large compared to other countrys, not large over all).

    1. Brian Milner

      Re: Brazilian authorities

      Valid point seen elsewhere:

      > Brazil has a large orkut userbase (I think about 200 of the takedowns related to this).

      > So this skews Brazil's number. For an accurate comparison,

      > Facebook should be included in the UK & US.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    so where are the figures

    Due to copy right issues?

    A lot more takedowns there....

  4. Neal 5


    "Google did not release figures on disclosure and censorship requests from the Chinese government, saying it would break state secret laws."

    May I ask whose state secret laws?. I do believe Google has pulled out of China, or are you implying that this move is only temporary, I know that for Google the $ is king, but they've turned their own backs on that in China, or is that just a little girls temper tantrum? I also believe that the USA wouldn't give a wiggle of a lambs tail about it either, in which case the only states left that El Reg might be afraid of would be N.Korea or Iran, or possibly the well known cyber terrorist state of Papua New Guinea.

  5. MinionZero
    Big Brother

    @"Woo! Number 1!"

    Makes me so proud to be British :(

    Plus I'm sure Orwell would have been so happy :( ... and to think, from here on out, that number of requests for private user data is only likely to get ever higher.

    (Plus how many requests for private user data will our new ISP music download spying plans generate per year. But then our state overlords probably don't want us to think of it in these kinds of terms. After all always on spying isn't generating requests, its always getting what it wants without requesting. Plus add up how many times they will spy on us with that and it'll be a very scary very big Orwellian number and they don't want us to think of it like that. After all, big scary numbers of spying attempts may make more people see how much we are sliding into an ever more Fascist society).


  6. Anonymous Coward

    That's not bad...'s not good I know. 1,200 requests in 6 months, could be a lot worse, given Mandy and Gordon's obsession with knowing everything about what we do!

    Don't forget some of those searches would have been for criminal activity from business premises too, money launderers that sort of thing, so it's not just looking to see if someone is looking up stuff in the darker areas of the "toobs".

  7. Anonymous Coward

    @A.C "I am not surprised either"

    @Anonymous Coward "I am not surprised either"

    "The only people more authoritarian and anti-liberty than Labour are the Greenies."

    Errrr, and this is why the Green Party oppose the roleout of ID cards. I fail to see that their stance on them would support your statement. Get your facts right before putting your keyboard in gear.

    I think the whole thing (databases/ID cards/APNR etc etc) is symptomatic of the net twitching attitude of the British populace, the State is only doing what the public would like to be able to do unto others, and of course not want done unto itself.

    As for politicians ... if they want to spy on us they should be prepared to live in glass houses and have their internet browsing habits monitored by any member of the public.

    1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

      Greens & ID cards

      "Errrr, and this is why the Green Party oppose the roleout of ID cards."

      This is because they would rather tattoo your ID card number on your forehead. You see, plastic cards are so environmentally unfriendly.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    And anyone who thinks it's all going to stop...

    ...with a change of government is living in dreamland.

    It's our own society we see reflected in a government and bureaucracy of jobsworths and control freaks, whose self-interest and self-righteousness now know no bounds when it comes to controlling us. They set high standards for everyone - except of course for themselves. Over the last 2 or 3 decades, we've made our bed in this country and we're going to have to learn to lie in it. It's going to get a lot worse before - IF - it ever gets better.

    Those who forget their history, etc....

    1. Eponymous Cowherd
      Big Brother

      It may not stop

      with a change of Government, but will certainly get worse without one.

      Both the LibDems and Tories have pledged to scrap the NIR in their manifestos. OK, they *may* renege on that promise, but Brown & Co will certainly see an Election victory as a green light for even more Orwellian shit.

    2. Anonymous Coward

      no light at the end of the tunnel...

      unfortunately... no new government can change things immediately, see Obama and his campaign for change in the US..

      takes years to get any changes through, and this is the "democracy" we live in... glaciers move faster than policy changes... it's simpler to leave things as they are... after all, MPs don't really want to do any real work do they, too busy expensing everything and their dog...

      I hope I'm wrong, but there really is *no form of government* that is utopian, it's all corrupt, after all humans are involved... I for one wait eagerly for the day of our machine/lizard overlords...

    3. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      @John 186

      So you won't be voting, then. That's a relief.

    4. Ted Treen
      Big Brother

      For an example...

      See how our Civil Servants - sorry, Overlords act.


      Before anyone moans at me, I know that yellow text on a light green background isn't the most legible, but you can always selct text, copy & poste it into TextEdit or Notepad and view it as B&W.

      As an indication of the arrogant mindset of these jobsworths, it's positively terrifying.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Not quite OT...

        If you have problems with curiously-coloured websites and you use Firefox, try the No Color add-on, which reduces any page to black on white at a keystroke. With my aging eyesight, I wouldn't be without it.

  9. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    So doe any British citizens *feel* safer

    That their police and security "Services" (as in an organisation that serves a useful function in society) are so relentless in wanting to know *so* much about their citizens?

  10. Anonymous Coward

    Subtitle should be...


    There, fixed that for you.

  11. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Re That's not bad...

    "That's not's not good I know. 1,200 requests in 6 months, could be a lot worse, given Mandy and Gordon's obsession with knowing everything about what we do!" ..... Anonymous Coward Posted Wednesday 21st April 2010 11:53 GMT

    What do you imagine is known about what Mandy and Gordon get up to/have gotten up to/obsess about? Do you think they are captive to their vices and steered by third party control of them so that they are like little robot satellites to do a remote master's bidding? Certainly they are glued to a dodgy script which doesn't suggest that they are free to think and act for themselves and propose anything novel and exciting and fundamentally different even as they spout that tired old rhetoric which is really just waffle about getting on with job of saving the world and the banks, for what has changed and they even are campaigning to try and ensure that there is no change and they remain top media bitches. How sad is that?


  12. Grubby

    Just how far will it travel??

    I'm not to arsed about people knowing stuff for analysis etc, if used for the right thing. I'm an analyst so I would say that. But two problems i have are:

    1. They won't do anything useful with it, just publish another sh*tty survey saying 22.1% of 25 year olds are under the age of 30...

    2. Some idiot will inevitably leave all my details on a train.

    As for my Google searches you can have it, "midget Olympics", "how far will a golf ball travel if shot out of an arse" and "dinosaurs lived for ages, why couldn't they talk"...

  13. Watashi

    Pre-emptive strike

    Waiting for people to commit crimes before you put them in prison is so 20th century.

  14. a_c_g_t
    Big Brother

    Big Brother

    I will not at all be suprised no matter who gets in in the next election that the treadmill sucessive governments are on in trying to control/watch our every waking action and deed will be passed on to the next incumbant idiots.

    No wonder I feel like Winston Smith, Just buy me a blue jump suite and be done with it.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Our security services are working for us....

    ...and your complaining!?

    But you'd complain if something bad happended, that they weren't doing enough....

    Come on people, stop being hyporcites.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      You are Mandybum...

      ...and I claim my £5...

  16. divakars sathyagraha

    Google Does Better

    I commend this path-breaking idea from Google. Now it must be put to good use by responsible civil society groups.

    It is interesting that India stands third in the number of requests to block content and fourth in the number of requests for data.

    Internet freedom is not complete without privacy.

    But I am grateful for even this “free” scrap.

    Till I put some money on this P III and an internet connection, the ruling class of India had believed it had consumed me with their toast.

    Guardian UK has "disappeared" me. Withdrawn my posting privileges and scrubbed my earlier comments.

    The Economist wobbles - sometimes scrapping my comments and at other times leaving them on. has published my comment in one blog but would not publish them in the Indian blog.

    It has sent me a form letter conveying its fear that it may be sued for "defamation" !!!!!

    Have these eminences of the media seriously scrutinised my claims and found them inadequate ? Absolutely not.

    But they do crumble with one phone call from the Prime Minister's Office or someone else.

    The Indian media's poppadum panjandrums have said what I have said from the safety of their armchairs.

    I am recounting my lived experience, with documentation.

    Have I acted in the larger interest ? You be the judge.

    Have they ?

    Here's my comment:

    As somebody who has conscientiously refused to do business the way it "normally" is in so called democratic societies - "Go along to get along" - I will not pay bribes - and who has been almost destroyed for my pains, I have come to believe that the Prime Minister of India Dr Manmohan Singh and his Congress party have been wishy washy, namby pamby, lackadaisical, mealy mouthed and covertly encouraging of corruption.

    As long as the Eleventh Commandment - Thou Shalt Not Get Caught - was not broken, Dr Singh and his party could be relied upon to engage his considerable personal influence and the immense powers of his office to pour unction on roiling waters.

    Faced with a eight day long furore and the cold fact of one of his brightest colleagues having been caught red handed, Dr Singh's reported first response was, " There are ups and downs in politics".

    Given such dissimulation from the Prime Minister Of India, a scholar with a reputation for probity, for those who stand up for the idea of the rule of law in India, there is only one long, unbroken "down".

    Till date nobody knows for sure whether Shri Tharoor has been fired for corruption or has merely had his Blackberry temporarily taken away from him.

    In other words India is so mired in corruption, that it is for all practical purposes an administrative basket case.

    Yesterday it was Satyam, today IPL, tomorrow what ?

    It is in the context of Dr Manmohan Singh's indecisiveness and the leading political parties' ambivalence on the idea of the rule of law in India, that the following recounting of the most perverse injustice may be seen:

    Twenty years ago - I had the privilege of having conceived, researched, scripted, edited, presented and produced a 37 minute Doordarshan commissioned documentary in Urdu,"Hyderabad. August 1948?, on the circumstances in which the 28 year old editor Shoebullah Khan of an Urdu newspaper, Imroose, was slaughtered, because of his open defiance of the erstwhile Nizam of Hyderabad.

    The documentary was acclaimed nationally.

    Historians of the calibre of Dr Bipan Chandra commended the meticulous research.

    Freedom fighters expressed their gratitude that light had been shone on a chapter of history, which they believed had been obscured.

    Among the most epiphanic reviews was the one by Dr Manmohan Singh's former media adviser, currently editor of Business Standard and fellow Hyderabadi Dr Sanjaya Baru.

    Under the informal chairmanship of Dr Abid Hussain, India's former ambassador to the USA, I was able to organise a petition to the former Prime Minister Dr P V Narasimha Rao.

    This resulted in a freedom fighter's status and pension for the martyr's wiidow, more than four decades after his supreme sacrifice.

    However since the past two decades I have been hounded by the bureaucracy, with the Indian editorial class (with an occasional honourable exception)doing its bit to trivialise, denigrate and gag me.

    My crime?

    I have been outspoken - wrote an article in the editorial page of The Hindustan Times and The Pioneer- about corruption in Doordarshan - the Government's so-called public service broadcaster.

    Since the past two decades, the Government of India, the Government of my own state, Andhra Pradesh, the Andhra Pradesh High Court , the Chief Information Commissioner and State Information Commissioner have combined to impress on me that what works in India is what I have called the "patronage paradigm" - the paradigm of shoddiness, irresponsibility, cronyism and corruption" - and that ideas of the rule of law and democratic processes are merely spectacles to lull the gullible.

    I have been denied the recognition that were commended to me by one former Chief Minister of my state, one former minister of home affairs, one speaker of the Lok Sabha, several prominent ministers of the central cabinet, eminent intellectuals and freedom fighters.

    I have been unable to earn a decent living.

    The office of the Governor of Andhra Pradesh incited my neighbors to cut off my water supply.

    Wajahat Habibullah and C D Arha have conducted themselves as though the RTI Act 2005 does not exist.

    The information commissions in the state and at the centre denied me my right to information on spurious, brazenly illegal grounds and punished me for daring to object.

    The AP high court sought independent legal opinion on my plaint, which was completely and unequivocally in my favour, and a judge issued a notice, yet the AP High Court high court denied me my right to competent counsel - a right given to the 26/11 gunman - and punished me for complaining.

    The Prime Minister's Office appears to have jumped through hoops to heap honour on a businessman alleged to be a serial swindler.

    In the same vein, it has and continues to illegally and fraudulently deny me the information I have sought and protect the miscreants who have stonewalled my pursuit of justice.

    Rashtrapathi Bhavan, after repeated urgings from me, had issued notices to the Ministry of Law and the Chief Secretary of Andhra Pradesh almost a year ago, presumably it has taken a prima facie view, but since then has been content to let matters fester.

    In other words, even as we speak, Dr Manmohan Singh"s office, "Daredevil" Pratibha Patil's Rashtrapati Bhavan, Chief Information Commissioner Wajahat Habibullah, State Information Commissioner CD Arha are all locked in a most perverse and ignominious conspiracy of silence to deny me justice.

    India's editorial class always narcissistic has decayed and is useless.

    Like the police in Hindi films, it arrives after all the action is over and then mouths "dialogue'.

    Variations of this comment have appeared in almost every major Indian online publication plus in many abroad.

    However, not a single editor or reporter has had the professionalism to pick it up and make it "impact".

    My credentials are strong and I have taken much trouble to meet many editors personally, usually on impeccable referrals.

    Our "know-it-all-in -chiefs" have had nothing but smirks to offer.

    When I sought the solidarity of the press, Shekhar Gupta (editor in chief of The Indian Express) advised me, "You cannot go around taking pangas (quarrels) with people, yaar."

    Even my comments are mutilated.

    Vinod Mehta's "Outlook" has banned my comments on risible grounds.

    The Hindu crawled.

    It published "spin" by corrupt officials and got hissy with me for pointing out, with evidence, its craven, yellow soul.

    The Indian Press (with a solitary exception) blacked out the fervent open letter written by Padma Vibhushan Kaloji Narayana Rao.

    That dear man , clear as a bell in his nineties, had laid his head on my shoulder, hugged me and wept.

    What about "civil society" in India ?

    Since close to a year now, I have written to the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, Campaign for Judicial Accountability And Reform, Forum For Judicial Accountability, MKSS (Aruna Roy)and Anna Hazare regarding this cascading delinquency of constitutional bodies in India.

    There has not been one constructive response.

    They all appear to be in helpless denial of the awful truth that an innocent citizen has been hounded and humiliated since two decades, not for any bad behaviour or wrongdoing, but for resisting the dilution of the values of the Indian constitution and standing up for the correct administration of the Right To Information Act 2005.

    Please visit and participate at :

    Andhra Pradesh High Court's Pernicious Rebellion Against The Law .05/29/09

    RTI Act 2005 Abuse In Andhra Pradesh- SIC Cheats! Chief Secretary Lies!05/07/09

    Prejudiced CIC Laps Up PMO Lies 05/05/09

    Compelling Criminality. Divakar S Natarajan and Varun Gandhi Cannot Both Be Wrong ! 01/28/09

    And India's editorial class will not report the story!

    Also Mad Dogs And Guardian UK

    News and views from Divakar S Natarajan's, "no excuses", ultra peaceful, non partisan, individual sathyagraha against corruption and for the idea of the rule of law in India.

    Now in its 18th year.

    Any struggle against a predatory authority is humanity's struggle to honour the gift of life.

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