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You can watch Google watch the governments watching Google watch you
April 20, 2010 1:59 PM   Subscribe

Google now provides a map of government requests to access user information or take down material from Google and YouTube. This is being heralded as a big step towards transparency unmatched by any similar company, and Google explains how the system works. The US requests information about 20 times a day (including subpoenas and search warrants from local and state governments), but Brazil leads with the most take-down and data requests, because of Orkut's popularity there.
posted by blahblahblah (14 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

 
Brazil = 291
United States = 123
China = Red Question Mark
posted by Damn That Television at 2:03 PM on April 20, 2010


Brief addendum: These numbers don't include pornography or copyright related content removal. Google's blog post on the subject has more, and the company has also stated that they are censored in 25 out of 100 countries in which they operate.
posted by blahblahblah at 2:04 PM on April 20, 2010


I'd bookmark this for the post title alone, having come from just seeing this in my rss feed
posted by infini at 2:22 PM on April 20, 2010


This. When privacy becomes out-in-front issue for the consumer, everyone wins.
posted by rosswald at 4:08 PM on April 20, 2010


First of all, why only government requests? I'm sure the vast majority of take down requests are the result of private action over copyright.

Brazil leads with the most take-down and data requests, because of Orkut's popularity there.

Maybe the tables should be normalized by the amount of, uh, salacious stuff from each country. Numbers like this are kind of useless, as google points out on their FAQ:
Some requests seek the removal of multiple pieces of content, or seek data for more than one account. There may also be multiple requests that ask for the removal of the same piece of content, or data for the same account. Because of the complexity of these requests, the numbers we are sharing do not reflect the total amount of content that we are asked to remove, nor the total number of accounts subject to data disclosure requests by governmental agencies.
Going by megabyte would be even less useful. One 10MB youtube video is worth 74,000 in terms of data length.

So, this can be used for trends, and somewhat for comparison (excluding different usage scenarios, like Orkut in Brazil)

Interesting, though.
posted by delmoi at 4:29 PM on April 20, 2010


I assume China's is red because they filter the results, so they don't actually need to ask google to remove anything.
posted by delmoi at 4:35 PM on April 20, 2010


If you click on China, it shows the reason: "Chinese officials consider censorship demands as state secrets, so we cannot disclose that information at this time."
posted by The Pusher Robot at 4:57 PM on April 20, 2010


a clear case of censoring the censors eh?
posted by infini at 5:06 PM on April 20, 2010


Instead of complaining about how evil Google is, I wish they'd start providing concrete examples and patterns of behavior. Claims can easily be leveled at Apple, Microsoft, and many other large tech companies.

Instead it seems Google's success and potential for evil is terrifying to it's critics.

Despite its potential, it seems to consistently be more than reasonable, particularly given its size and economic power.

This is another datapoint.
posted by el io at 9:19 PM on April 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Well...it's a good first step I guess, but really seems more like PR to me.
posted by Roman Graves at 9:51 PM on April 20, 2010


Instead of complaining about how evil Google is, I wish they'd start providing concrete examples and patterns of behavior.

Instead it seems Google's success and potential for evil is terrifying to it's critics.


That's certainly a part of it. Also, there's the problem of so much SEO garbage on the web now, that's largely there because of flaws (IMO) in google's search engine. Nowadays if you don't find something on wikipedia, there's a good chance it's going to be crap, and full of google text ads, at that.

Of course, it's not all that clear what they ought to do about it, they obviously can't control spammers. But better quality control on sites with textads might be nice.
posted by delmoi at 12:41 AM on April 21, 2010


and now it showed up in my twitter feed via via RT but using this post title... *head asplodes*
posted by infini at 6:25 AM on April 21, 2010


It would be nice if they could show more details of each individual request, so that people can understand the true nature of the government's actions.
posted by eas98 at 8:37 AM on April 21, 2010


Just because it's PR doesn't mean it's not also a commendable thing to do.
posted by Kadin2048 at 9:19 AM on April 21, 2010


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