Google Transparency 6.0

Governments want your data. That’s according to the sixth edition of Google’s Transparency Report.

Google says it’s meant to keep governments accountable as Internet companies receive more and more requests to hand over or remove information.

The search giant believes that government surveillance is on the rise and it’s got the figures to prove it. Its first transparency report back in 2009 revealed that governments around the world made 12,539 requests for specific users’ data. Nearly four years on, Google reports having received 20,938 requests for information about 34,614 accounts.

Authorities made 1,791 requests for Google to remove 17,746 pieces of content in the first half of 2012, almost twice as many as the 949 requests made in the same period last year.

From January to June 2012, the following countries made the most requests for user data:

• United States (7,969)
• India (2,319)
• Brazil (1,566)
• France (1,546)
• Germany (1,533)

And these countries made the most requests to remove content:

• Turkey (501)
• United States (273)
• Germany (247)
• Brazil (191)
• United Kingdom (97)

Pleasantly enough, Australian government is actually asking Google to remove less content. From 646 previous half-year the number or requests dropped to 92.

The report also says that Google “received a request from a state government agency to remove a YouTube video of statements made against members of law enforcement”. Still the company chose to comply with just 15 per cent of Australian requests. And the video was also not removed.

Google’s Senior Policy Analyst Dorothy Chou said in a statement: “Our hope is that over time, more data will bolster public debate about how we can best keep the Internet free and open.”

What do you think about Google’s move to bring more transparency into these practices?

By Vlad andrianov, ADMA

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