According to a new report, across the entire Middle East and Western Asia region Israel has requested the most amount of data on its citizens from Apple, Google, Facebook, and Microsoft.
Cybersecurity firm Surfshark analyzed the data requests by local authorities and law enforcement agencies from 177 countries between the years 2013 and 2020. Overall, Israel’s agencies requested the 12th most amount of user data (185,95 accounts per 100k population) in the world.
The US tops the list with almost 2 million accounts in user data requests in the last nine years, making roughly 585 accounts per 100k, with the remaining top five countries being Germany, the UK, Singapore, and France.
Overall, the U.S and Europe account for almost two-thirds of all ‘accounts of interest’ across the nine-year timeframe. Israeli agencies make 173% more requests than the global average.
As for other Middle Eastern nations in top 50, Turkey comes 23rd with 126,22 accounts per 100k and Jordan the 50th with roughly 19 per 100k. Data on the requests by the UAE authorities has not been published.
The number of accounts requested globally increased more than four times between 2013 and 2020, with the last year seeing the biggest year-over-year increase of nearly 40%. This can be attributed to the general move online amid the pandemic, which led a rise in remote working and big tech services use.
The massive growth of online crime in 2020 went hand-in-hand with the increase in data requests that Big Tech companies received. Globally, the first year of the Covid-19 pandemic saw a staggering year-over-year growth of accounts requested for government surveillance from 0.9 million to 1.3 million. This could be attributed to everything moving online, including crime,
says Agneska Sablovskaja, Lead Researcher at Surfshark.