Site shows government intervention on Google services

The tool lets people check access levels to Google services and view government demands for data access and removal

Google has trotted out an interactive tool that it says shows government-induced blocks and disruptions of the search company's services.

Called Transparency Report, the new Web site features a section called Traffic where people can check the levels of availability of multiple Google services in different countries.

Transparency Report also houses a previously launched interactive map that displays a digest, by country, of government demands for access to and removal of content and data hosted on Google services like Blogger, Gmail and YouTube.

"We believe that this kind of transparency can be a deterrent to censorship," said David Drummond, Google's chief legal officer, in a blog post on Tuesday.

The move could be seen partly as an attempt by Google to turn the tables on governments, which often criticize the company for what they perceive as Google's overly aggressive and secretive collection of data about its users.

Specifically, Google regularly faces government questions and concerns about its data collection on users' activities on Google sites for advertising profiling purposes.

Google is also currently on the hot seat in many countries over its harvesting of Web surfing data from wireless networks through its Street View service, something Google has called a mistake and said it has stopped doing.

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Tags Internet-based applications and servicesGoogleregulationlegislationgovernmentinternetsearch engines

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Juan Carlos Perez

IDG News Service
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