Global surveillance is increasing, with governments requesting almost 40% more user data from Apple, Google, Facebook, and Microsoft during 2020 than in the year before, according to a report from privacy firm Surfshark.
The U.S. and EU (European Union) authorities request data the most. Both regions account for nearly two-thirds of all accounts of interest from 2013 to 2020. To compare, the U.S. requested more than double the accounts per 100,000 people than all the EU countries combined.
The U.S. had nearly two million user accounts affected since 2013 and 469,000 in 2020 alone. This represents a little over 585 accounts per 100,000 population.
Second on the list was Germany, with 489 requests per 100,000, followed by the UK, with 486. Singapore and France round out the top five.
Surfshark says companies disclose user data more than ever. From 2013 to 2020, the number of disclosed requests grew by almost 280%. On average, companies complied with 70% of user data requests between 2013 and 2020. Compliance (partial or full disclosure) with user data requests ranged from 66% to 73%. Surfshark says Apple is the only outlier, submitting user data for 80% of requests.
The privacy from said its research hub analyzed user data requests that Apple, Google, Facebook, and Microsoft received from 177 countries between 2013 and 2020. As a data request can cover multiple accounts, the research looked into the number of accounts specified in these requests, examines their global distribution per population, and compared the number of partially or fully disclosed requests.