Google reveals government requests for user data

– Taken From A Seattle PI Article –

Google Inc. launched a tool on Tuesday that discloses the requests it receives from government agencies for user data and content removal, enhanced transparency that it says could ultimately lead to less censorship.

The "Government Requests" feature available as of today includes data from July 2009 through December 2009. The company plans to update the information every six months.

"We hope this tool will shine some light on the scale and scope of government requests for censorship and data around the globe," said David Drummond, Google’s chief legal officer, in a corporate blog post. "We also hope that this is just the first step toward increased transparency about these actions across the technology and communications industries."

Drummond emphasized that the "vast majority" of the requests Google receives are legitimate, such as those that seek the removal of child pornography or are related to criminal investigations.

"Yet government censorship of the web is growing rapidly: from the outright blocking and filtering of sites, to court orders limiting access to information and legislation forcing companies to self-censor content," he wrote.

Drummond said the company had already notified users when it removes content in search results, or when it received requests that may affect them personally.

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-Bryan alt

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