Brazil tops Google’s censorship list

May 22, 2010

The Hollywood Reporter:

Thu Apr 22, 2010 @ 10:31AM PST

  • Google has released a list of government censorship requests, revealing that Brazil has been the most aggressive with 3,663 data requests in the second half of last year. However, Google didn’t release numbers from China. [Telegraph]
  • Source:

    The search giant has launched an online tool breaking down the figures which it hopes will be "just the first step toward increased transparency" Photo: GETTY IMAGES

    Published: 9:24AM BST 21 Apr 2010

    Google releases list of government censorship requests

    Internet search giant Google has revealed that Brazil’s government has made the most requests for information or censorship. However figures for China, which censors great swathes of online information, have not been revealed.

    Google could not include requests made by Beijing because the information is regarded as a state secret.

    Instead, Brazil tops the list, with 3,663 data requests between 1 July and 31 December 2009. The US made 3,580 and the UK came third with 1,166.

    Brazil was also made the highest number of requests to Google to remove content with 291 calls between July and December 2009. In second place was Germany with 188, India with 142 and the US with 123 requests.

    If China were included it would almost certainly be in the top spot.

    The search giant has launched an online tool breaking down the figures which it hopes will be “just the first step toward increased transparency”. The web page features a map showing country by country where it has had government requests or court orders to remove content from the YouTube video service or its search results, or to provide details about users of its services.

    “The vast majority of these requests are valid and the information needed is for legitimate criminal investigations or for the removal of child pornography, ” David Drummond, Google’s chief legal officer, wrote on the company’s blog.

    “We believe that greater transparency will lead to less censorship. 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.”

    The move comes after Google stopped censoring search results in China after the Gmail accounts of users associated with human rights groups were hacked.

    The company said the attacks had originated in China while the Chinese authorities denied any involvement.

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