Google Releases Stats On Country Info & Takedown Requests; Leaves Us Wanting More

from the transparency-is-good dept

Google's getting some attention for its decision to launch a tool highlighting the information requests made by various governments to Google, either to gather information or to take down certain content. According to Google, this is a part of its efforts to try to keep the internet more open, as seen by its decision to leave China and its pushing back on Australia's attempts at censorship. Of course, many will claim that this is just self-serving on Google's part, since it's better off with a more open internet -- but that doesn't mean the initiative is a bad idea.

Still, it's not clear really how much there is to learn from this tool. Basically, we see that Brazil requests a lot of information and takedowns -- and the US requests an awful lot of info. And... well.. then we're left wondering. The tool does breakdown the nature of the removal requests, but not in very much detail. And it doesn't do that for the data requests. So, really, all this tool does is leave us wondering what exactly is being requested and/or taken down. Perhaps that's the point of the tool: to get people to ask more questions, but it seems like Google could have done a bit more to highlight that kind of information as well.

Separately, in its op-ed about the new program, Google also suggests that the best tool for encouraging a decrease in repressive governments is through better free trade agreements. If only that were the case. Real free trade agreements can increase openness tremendously, but lately the sorts of "free trade agreements" we've seen have been things like ACTA -- which is not at all about openness, and very much about using the same repressive tools used by China to try to block forms of communication.

It's good that Google is encouraging some discussion on this topic, and perhaps this is the point of the limited tool, but looking through it seems to simply open up a lot more questions than it answers.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 20th, 2010 @ 7:35pm

    two posts in the same day? the masnick makes a shocking return to techdirt. too bad your are buying into google trying to stack the deck for political advancement.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    not the AC, Apr 20th, 2010 @ 8:10pm

    Same silly V from the AC ?
    Of course, what else did anyone expect.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    icon
    BearGriz72 (profile), Apr 20th, 2010 @ 8:16pm

    Re:

    Alert: Tinfoil Hats Required...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    icon
    Chargone (profile), Apr 20th, 2010 @ 9:16pm

    Re:

    because having someone who's interest conincide with one's own 'stacking the deck' is oh so much worse than the usual run of political shenanigans.

    ...

    yeah, that was sarcasm.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 20th, 2010 @ 10:16pm

    Re:

    TAM, are you off your meds again?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    R, Apr 20th, 2010 @ 10:55pm

    Free Trade Agreement

    The reason has such poor copyright law is because of the US Free Trade Agreement - I'm not holding my breath

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    icon
    Richard (profile), Apr 20th, 2010 @ 11:40pm

    Maybe Google are afraid of being accused of generating your favourite "Streisand effect" by pointing out what content is being taken down and by who.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    icon
    The Groove Tiger (profile), Apr 21st, 2010 @ 1:47am

    Re:

    again, the tam shows his true colors by promoting the raporism of underage unicorns.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 21st, 2010 @ 6:16am

    Re: Re:

    "Hi Mike"

    Ha! Beat you to it! Now go back to bed troll.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    icon
    Marcus Carab (profile), Apr 21st, 2010 @ 4:20pm

    If I recall correctly, the tool also doesn't count the number of things requested, only the number of requests - and that one request could be for a single takedown or piece of information, or for a hundred of them. If that's true then these statistics would be massively skewed by simple bureaucratic nuances: an office in one government might have a system where they send a bunch of separate requests while the same office in another government bundles them.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 26th, 2010 @ 12:39am

    It's good that Google is encouraging some discussion on this topic, and perhaps this is the point of the limited tool, but looking through it seems to simply open up a lot more questions than it answers.


    Much like your typical LOST episode.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    girl games, May 4th, 2010 @ 1:34am

    new google tool

    well, it is better than nothing, we will always want more tools with more abilities, but that what Google decided to provide in that version.
    Maybe in the next version they will provide more.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    identicon
    Ben 10 games, May 6th, 2010 @ 11:53am

    google tool

    Not bad but it could be better i am sure in the next version they will provide more then that

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    identicon
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  15.  
    identicon
    Coach Hire, Jul 24th, 2010 @ 11:58pm

    Its correct

    Even while they are newcomers to Washington, they have apparently learned the lessons of the K Street Project -- the Republican effort to force businesses to hire only Republican lobbyists and to make donations to GOP candidates and committees, and to fill the major lobbying firms with Republican staffers from Capitol Hill.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    identicon
    dora games, Nov 30th, 2010 @ 6:06pm

    answer

    The point of the tool is to get people to ask more questions, but it seems like Google could have done a bit more to highlight that kind of information and gave more answers .

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    identicon
    Ms Pacman, Jun 19th, 2011 @ 3:49am

    No sense

    I don't see any sense in this tool?!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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