Google Transparency Report shows U.S., Brazil make most data removal requests

Google has introduced a Transparency Report that lets you see which countries are asking the search company for data on its users and making requests for data removal.

Google has introduced a Transparency Report that lets you see which countries are asking the search company for data on its users and making requests for data removal.

An ulterior motive for Google is to lessen censorship by exposing the requests to the public.

Google shows a list of countries and the number of data requests and data removal requests, and you can click on an interactive map that allows you zero in on how many removal requests were granted in part or entirely. Google breaks down which services, such as Gmail and Blogger, the data removal requests are associated with, plus includes information on whether the request resulted from a court order.

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The United States made near 4,300 data requests between January and June and asked for 128 data removals. The data requests number was by far the highest of any country listed, though data is not provided for all countries (China’s data is not on there because the country considers censorship demands to be state secrets, according to Google. The company has been working to co-exist with China in the wake of the Beijing government’s decision this summer to renew Google’s license to do business there.

Brazil made the most requests for data removal with 398.

Google says about 83 per cent of the U.S. requests for data removal were complied with, and an interactive map on the site shows a breakdown of which Google services were involved.

The other part of the Transparency Report lets you search historic traffic trends by country and by Google service. Traffic is measured on a scale from 0 to 100 and updated as data is collected and digested (it was a couple of days behind when we looked). A traffic outage might be caused by a government blocking it, a cable cut or something else – that isn’t clear from this view unfortunately.

The new Google traffic monitoring offering replaces and expands upon an earlier Mainland China Services Availability page.

Google acknowledges that the Transparency Report is a work in progress, as it tries to figure out the best way to present the data it collects.

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Bob Brown

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