Just yesterday, Google outlined its principles around free expression on the Internet. Today, the company is going one step further. Google just released a new tool that is meant to give its users a clearer picture of the kind of takedown notices, removal requests and data requests it gets from government agencies around the world. This new Government Requests tool currently features data from July to December 2009. Google plans to add more data in 6-month increments.
According to Google, the company is doing this to “be as transparent as legally possible with respect to requests.” The tool outlines the kind of requests Google receives from government agencies in any given country. The Government Requests application also shows how often Google complied with these requests. Sadly, though, the tools doesn’t show any details about these requests.
U.S. government agencies, for example, requested data about 3580 user accounts between July 2009 and December 2009. Google also received 123 removal requests (mostly connected to YouTube) and complied with 80.5% of these. Brazil, by the way, sent the most data requests (3663) and removal requests (291).
Government Requests doesn’t show data from countries that initiated less than 10 requests and also doesn’t include data about links to child pornography, as Google deletes this content whenever the company becomes aware of it, even if there is no government request to take it down. This tool also doesn’t show data about Google services that are fully or partially blocked in some countries.