Google unveils Government Requests tool

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Greater transparency around government requests

In a controversial move, Google has unveiled a new tool which makes public the statistics surrounding government requests to the company for private user data or content removal. The corporation announced the decision on the official Google blog, stating the need for 'greater transparency around government requests.'

The tool, aptly named Government Requests, offers the data in map form whereby each individual country is tagged with the relevant information. Users are able to view both the number of data requests and the number of removal requests per country, along with specific details of the removal requests such as the type of content involved or how far Google has historically complied with the demands. The results for the United Kingdom are shown in the image on the right.

Less censorship

The decision to make this information public is being hailed by those at Google as a necessary step in guarding against the dangers of censorship. The blog post announcing the tool cites Article 19 of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, which concerns freedom of expression and information, and urges that these rights be maintained with regards to the Internet