Not really cause for celebration though.
Wired reports that this decrease may simply be from less stringent adherence to warrant laws. The police, FBI, NSA, etc may just be finding ways around warrants.
“What’s more, the government asserts, and judges are agreeing, that no warrant is required to obtain so-called cell-site data which identifies the cell tower to which the customer was connected at the beginning of a call and at the end of the call.
And Google announced last month that the United States sought user data from Google 6,321 times for the six months ending December 2011, up from 5,950 the six months prior.
Google’s transparency data is also limited as it does not include requests under the Patriot Act, which can include National Security Letters with gag orders attached. Nor does the data include anti-terrorism eavesdropping court orders known as FISA orders or any dragnet surveillance programs legalized in 2008, as those are secret, too.
The data Google is coughing up includes e-mail communications, documents and, among other things, browsing activity, and even IP addresses used to create an account. And we suspect that an alarming amount of the data is being turned over without a probable-cause warrant. Google isn’t saying.
In the United States, the law is so antiquated that a warrant is often not required to get Americans’ emails, and proposals to fix that have been met with silence in Congress.”