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Google Lifts the Veil on Government Requests

Google Lifts the Veil on Government Requests
With its recent steps to increase government transparency, Google may be putting serious pressure on other Internet companies to follow suit, and might even be affecting how nonchalantly governments issue take-down and data requests to such companies.

The Government Request Tool tallies various national governments' requests for information from Google, and their calls to remove content from YouTube. The data is embedded in a Google Map, and clicking on a country reveals further details about what specific Google service was targeted, whether or not a court order was involved, and with what percentage of the requests Google complied.

Specific information about individual requests is not available (for now), and take-down notices related to copyright infringement are not included in the total numbers. Still, it provides an interesting insight into how often countries like the U.S., U.K., Brazil and India ask Google to hand over data.

Of course, not included in the data set are requests made by the Chinese government, which considers such demands "state secrets." Both Wired and Mashable have speculated that other companies, such as Yahoo! and Microsoft, may also abandon the unspoken rule against revealing government requests. We're hoping so, because every step towards transparency is a victory for users and consumers. [From: Google, via: Mashable and Wired]

Tags: censorship, google, government, GovernmentReqests, GovernmentRequestsTool, privacy, top, transparency, web