The number of requests from the government to Google for information on its users has increased by 29% in the last 6 months. Google is one of the few companies that release these kinds of statistics to the public. The reason they give for doing this is that they want to raise awareness about the ECPA.
The ECPA is the Electronic Communications Privacy Act and it was enacted 25 years ago. It was set to provide people with protection and privacy against government intrusion but hasn’t been updated since it was made to reflect new advances in technologies. Because of this people are still massively vulnerable to government intrusion, with their ability to get access to users online information with out having to go through a judges approval like they would need to with a warrant. Google is just one of many high tech companies that have formed the Digital Due Process coalition to advocate reform.
This isn’t the first time Google has attempted to rock the boat over government monitoring. Most of you probably remember back when Google refused to censor search results in China. Their refusal of this demand caused them to close up shop in a much of China. On the other hand companies like yahoo have no trouble with censoring or even monitoring and giving information on political dissidents.