This article has been written by Katitza Rodriguez (EFF) and Olivia Solis (SHARE Defense)
Google's Transparency Report gives country-by-country statistics on the state requests it receives for personal private records. Below, EFF and SHARE Defense ranked the top countries requesting data—not by the total numbers of requests, but by how many accounts are requested relative to the total number of Internet users in each country. We believe this chart is fairer for countries that have a large Internet user population, but who make a smaller percentage of surveillance requests. These results are not a perfect measure, but we can still see the disproportionate activities of some small nations who make relatively relative high numbers of data requests. Google statistics refer to user accounts, and not the number of affected users. One user may have more than one account (see Google Transparecy Report FAQs). Moreover, Google is also less popular in some countries than others, which lowers the number of requests they receive from a particular jurisdiction.
While Google is not equally popular in all regions, the infographic shows alarming levels of requests for Hong Kong with 5 million users, with an Internet penetration of 74.5%, and Singapore with 4 million with a 75.0% penetration of Internet users. By comparison, Hong Kong's neighbor Japan with 101 million users and penetration slightly higher 79.5% has the second lowest rate of requests.
India is ranked at number two by total number of data requests but if you take into account its large Internet population, its ranking falls. Neighboring countries can vary a great deal. The U.K. and France demand a disproportionate amount of user information, compared to Ireland and the Netherlands.