Friday, December 20, 2013

Google Transparency Reports and Government Requests

In 2010 Google launched the Transparency Report "to provide hard evidence of how laws and policies affect access to information online." They recently released numbers showing how many requests Google received from various governments to remove content from their services. There was a 68 percent increase of government requests to remove content from the last six months of 2012 to the first six months of 2013. Various types of governments or government officials have asked Google to remove political content ranging from judges, police departments, and town councils to countries such as Turkey and Russia. Reasons given for the requests include defamation, privacy and copyright laws.

Google emphasizes:

While the information we present in our Transparency Report is certainly not a comprehensive view of censorship online, it does demonstrate a worrying upward trend in the number of government requests, and underscores the importance of transparency around the processes governing such requests.

The report also includes a link to a safe browsing page detailing how many malware and phishing websites Google detects each week, how many users they warn, and which networks around the world host malware sites. Google also has a series of videos that describe malware infections and the cleanup process.