Privacy in technology

The United States government definitely maintains a powerful influence that has the ability to force tech companies to share any collected information on their users. While the government may use the collected data for covert actions, there are more overt and legitimate reasons that technology giants like Google or Yahoo would share the information it collects. Generally, these companies use the data that they gather to the benefit of their users by creating a better user experience. With all of the services that companies like Google provides, the different types of information that is collected can vary. A vast majority of the information that is collected by Google is done through their account creation forms, internet searches, browser cookies, and e-mail contents. In general, most companies and devices collect basic information like name, email address, telephone number, but they also collect information on the services used, the frequency that those services are used, and provides this data to their advertising services. Information that has been collected is used to protect and maintain the services for their end-users, and provide relevant search results and advertisements.

With the vast majority of electronic devices being produced having the ability to collect information and connect to the internet, there are many new ways for nefarious acts to go undetected. Since terrorists also use many of these same technologies, the United States Government attempts to employ as many tools as possible with hopes of preventing any future attacks on the nation. Under the United States law, if one of these tech giants were to receive a subpoena, court order or search warrant, they are legally required to comply with the request and turn over any data that has been requested. Failure to comply is considered contempt of court, and can result in fines, jail time, or both. These methods are used by local, state, and federal government agencies to gather information to either support or weaken a civil or criminal case. From January to June of 2015, Google has received more than thirty-five thousand requests to provide the government with some type of information (Source:Google Transparency Report). Of the identified thirty- five thousand requests, sixty-three percent of the requests resulted in Google providing some type of data. The United States has over twelve thousand requests, which was the most recorded during this time period, with seventy-eight percent of the requests resulting in data being provided.




 

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