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Google Publishes Government Censorship & Data Requests

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It looks like Google isn't prepared to be pushed around by any country anymore...

Following its high profile spat with China, the search giant has decided to publish exactly how many requests it gets per year from governments around the World to censor information or give up user data.

This controversial decision produces a fascinating picture with Brazil - perhaps surprisingly - topping the requests for user data with 3663 requests, just ahead of the United States with 3580. The UK comes a long way back in third with 1166 ahead of India with 1061 and France with 846. From here requests drop dramatically with Italy making 550 requests and Germany 458, Spain 324, Australia 155, Argentina 98 and Poland with 86 rounds off the top 10.
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When it came to censorship, Brazil was a long way clear of everyone else with 291 requests followed by Germany (188), India (142), the US (123), South Korea (64) and the UK back in 6th with 59. Italy (57), Argentina (42), Spain (32), Australia (17) and Canada (16) complete the top ten. "What about China?" I hear you all cry. Sadly Google has omitted China's stats since the country regards them as state secrets.

So what can we draw from these results? That we should not be too quick to judge:

"The vast majority of these requests are valid and the information needed is for legitimate criminal investigations or for the removal of child pornography, " said Google chief legal officer David Drummond. "We believe that greater transparency will lead to less censorship. Unless companies, governments and individuals do something, the internet we know is likely to become ever more restricted - taking choice and control away from users and putting more power in the hands of those who would limit access to information."

Do these results surprise you? How long before conspiracy theories emerge? And just how many requests do we think China made...?!

Links:
Google Government Requests Page
Google Blog Post

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