Google may soon start billing government and law enforcement agencies for legal demands seeking user data requests such as emails, location tracking information and search queries, that it says have increased immensely in the past.
According to the tech giant’s spokesperson, government agencies will have to pay in order to obtain user data in new charges that will in part, be used to offset the costs of complying with warrants and subpoenas.
This notice has been sent to law enforcement agencies to notify them the new changes. Federal law allows companies to charge the government reimbursement fees of this type, but Google’s decision is a major change in how it deals with legal requests.
Google intends to charge US $45 per warrant, US $60 for a wire trap, and US $245 for a search warrant, with exceptional cases involving child safety investigations and life-threatening emergencies as the spokesperson noted.
The company will be able to submit user data like emails, location history, and even search history upon payment. Other legal requests have also been priced accordingly, according to NYTimes, who had their hands on a copy of the notice.
The move is legal, according to the U.S. federal law, it is pretty more comfortable to view it as a move to make more money. Google’s recent Transparency Report shows that legal requests for information in 2009 were less than 20,000, but that number hit over 165,000 last year. The company also reported a 50 percent uptick in legal requests received in the first half of 2019 compared to the previous year.
Google’s policy mandates the company to notify its users via email in case a law agency requests their data unless prohibited by the law. Well, we have all given Google control over our information and once you’re in, it’s hard to get out.
“Big tech companies like Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter and Facebook have been submitting user information upon request by the government agencies. It is a hard move to delete yourself from the web if you think of it,” the spokesperson said.
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