Google censorship report reveals Governmental tinkering

Google has published its interactive Transparency Report, detailing the number of requests made by Governments around the world for access to personal data records and removal of offending websites from the search engine.

The Internet giant reveals that many such requests are often made to sites around the world, however, Google has decided to let us know exactly how many it has received since July 2009, in six-monthly chunks.

It probably comes as no surprise, but the US Government is the biggest busy-body, with 4,287 requests for user data from January 2010 to June 2010. It also asked Google to remove 128 different websites from its search engine and other web domains, such as YouTube.

Second on the list comes, perhaps surprisingly, Brazil, with 2,435 requests for personal data, 398 requests for removal in the same period.

The UK asked for 1,343 user records, but only 48 websites or video to be removed.

Google stresses that its report (published atĀ www.google.com/transparencyreport) is not 100 per cent accurate. For instance, countries who made less than 30 requests for user data have beenĀ omitted, as have those who have asked for 10 removals. But it does offer full breakdowns of specifics for each country listed on its interactive map.

Nor does the report detail the removals made in the case of child pornography. Google already does its utmost to keep such content from its servers, so has few records as to whether it removed the content itself, or whether a Governmental agency requested it.

The web giant hopes that the release of these statistics will provoke others into following suit: "We hope this tool will be helpful in studies about service outages and disruptions and that other companies will make similar disclosures," it says.

What do you think? Are Government's trying to protect our interests? Should Google release such information? Let us know in the comments below...



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