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Disha Ravi arrest puts privacy of all Google India users in doubt

While earlier the reports came via sources, on February 15 Delhi Police in a press conference confirmed that some of the key evidence they have against Disha Ravi, a 21-year-old climate activist supporting farmers' protest and who has been arrested, comes from Google. The cops said that before the arrest they had asked for details from Google about a Google document that Disha allegedly edited and that the company complied.

Google has not publicly commented on the matter. India Today Tech has reached out to the company...

The details that Delhi Police got from Google are related to a "toolkit" -- a Google document -- through which the activists were allegedly co-ordinating their protest in support of agitating farmers... The cops said that they wrote to Google on February 5 to get the IP address or the location from where "the toolkit" was created. The details that Google provided led them to identify Disha and a few other activists...

... Often these legal demands from authorities also put a gag order on the companies, forbidding them to reveal that they received a request.

So far the absence of complete silence from Google on this matter can be concerning for millions of people in India who use Google services. In particular, the users don't know if Google shares the details with the government and law enforcement agencies with a mere request from them or if the company requires more detailed and elaborate court orders. It is also not clear if Google applies the same privacy standards for Indian users that it applies in the US or Europe... For now, it means that there is a possibility that data of all Google users in India, including their emails, their editing history on Google Docs, the files saved and shared in Google Drive, their YouTube history, their location data through Google Maps, can possibly be shared with the Indian police and the Indian government authorities if Google receives a request for this data.