Google's New Government-Tracking Toy

Want to know how paranoid you should be? Google's new toy lets you see how many times your government asked Google for private information. Citizens of Brazil, Germany and India: Fetch your tinfoil hats (chapéus de papel laminado)!

It used to be, if you wanted to figure out how intrusive your government was, you needed to meet a guy in a DC parking garage. Now, thanks to Google's new Government Requests tool, you can track how nosy your country is from the "privacy" of your own home!

The site tracks two kinds of requests: "Removal requests," for when a government asks that certain content be removed from a Google-owned site (say, child pornography, or the pictures you found of FEMA's chemtrails equipment) and "data requests," for when a government asks for personal data from a Google-owned site (like the email attached to the YouTube account you used to upload a video of yourself proving conclusively that 9/11 was an inside job, with a Rage Against the Machine soundtrack).

So who are the big offenders? Brazil and India show a disproportionate number of requests on both lists, thanks to those countries' widespread, hilarious use of Google's social networking site, Orkut, while Germany's draconian anti-Nazi laws lead to a high number of removal requests for fun pro-Nazi flash games and the like. The US is high on both the data request and removal request lists, but obviously Google isn't accounting for the Reptoid mind-control rays controlled by President Muslim.

And China? Well, Google won't even fuck with China at this point:

You may have noticed that there's a question mark for content removal requests from China. As noted in the map, Chinese officials consider censorship demands as state secrets, so we cannot disclose that information at this time. During the period that Google's joint venture operated google.cn, its search results were subject to censorship pursuant to demands from government agencies responsible for Internet regulation. As we announced in March, users visiting google.cn are now being redirected to google.com.hk where we are offering uncensored search results.

Interestingly, Google reveals the number of removal requests they comply with, but not the number of personal data requests, saying that they "haven't figured out yet how to categorize and quantify these requests [i.e., personal data requests] in a way that adds meaningful transparency."

[Google]

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