Google Updates Gov Data Request Stats, Notes Decline In Takedown Demands

Google provides the world with bi-annual, year-ago looks into which countries’ governments requested data on its users, in what quantity, and how many content takedown demands it received from the same entities.

Because the search company reports figures that are 12 months old, their value is slightly muted. It would be more fun, of course, to have real-time information on this sort of thing, but the numbers are interesting all the same. In the second half of 2013, Google saw total requests decline for the takedown of content decline. The minor fall in requests isn’t too notable in itself, but the reason behind it is:

You may notice that this total decreased slightly from the first half of 2013; this is due to a spike in requests from Turkey during that period, which has since returned to lower levels. Meanwhile, the number of requests from Russia increased by 25 percent compared to the last reporting period. Requests from Thailand and Italy are on the rise as well.

I wonder if you could chart internal unrest in countries and compare that information to requests for data on or from citizens of those same countries. I would wager a small sum that there is a nearly direct correlation.

What would be even more interesting to see is if data requests are a leading or lagging indicator of unrest. Do government’s demands for user data precede or follow protests and the like?

Anyone want to wager that Russia’s numbers rise through 2014, as Google releases them next year?