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Official requests up for Aussies' web data: Google

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Australian authorities are increasingly monitoring web users' activities, as worldwide governments increasingly track the online lives of citizens.

In the first six months of the year, Australian authorities made 523 requests to Google to access the data of 841 Gmail and YouTube users.

Google complied with 64 per cent of those requests, down one per cent since last year.

Worldwide, authorities made 20,939 requests that Google offer information on its users – a sharp increase on the 12,539 requests recorded in July 2009.

Authorities made 1791 requests that Google remove 17,746 items in the first six months of 2012. Most of the requests came from government authorities and law enforcement.

The figures, contained in Google's latest Transparency Report, show a steady rise in the number of requests for access from Australian governments since it first began publishing the data in July 2009.

"The number of requests that we receive for user account information as part of criminal investigations has increased year on year," Google said in a blog posting.

"The increase isn't surprising, since each year we offer more products and services, and we have a larger number of users."

Australian governments also made 92 requests to remove items from Google websites, including YouTube and search engine results.

Most of the requests were made for "privacy and security" reasons, or over defamation and copyright issues.

A small number were removed for reasons of "government criticism".

Google highlighted one instance where a state government, which it did not name, asked to remove a YouTube video of "statements made against police officers".

With AAP