“The publication of this information is an important milestone in our efforts to improve transparency and help address broader uncertainty about how often governments are coming to Google to request access to enterprise customer data,” said Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian in a brief blog post.
In the same post, Google outlines five new principles that the company says will guide its government advocacy efforts moving forward. As part of the new principles, Google says governments should approach companies directly when they want access to their data. Similarly, the company says jurisdictions should promote transparency efforts, including ones taken up by cloud service providers like Google, as well as efforts from governmental agencies.
The company will also push governments to provide a clear way for companies to challenge any data requests. Additionally, Google says it will continue to support policies that promote the creation of better security technologies. Last but not least, Google notes it will support initiatives that attempt to modernize existing policies. At the moment, however, we haven’t seen Google put its new pillars in action.
Over the years, Google has tried to make its transparency reports more useful to the public. In 2017, for instance, the company redesigned the documents to make them easier to read. At the time, Google said it embarked on the redesign because it saw how they “can help inform and shape the public debate about information online.” It’s likely the same thought inspired the company’s latest efforts.