Government Requests Google Data (including YouTube).


Master Black Belt
Jan 10, 2007
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Today, Google launched a fascinating new feature listing requests from government agencies for removal of content on Google and YouTube and for corresponding user information. Set up as a map, the Government Requests tool shows various countries around the world and lists the number of requests from that country between July and December of last year. You can learn, for example, that Brazil is the most prolific sender of content takedown requests to Google, or that Google did not comply with any requests from Pakistan.
The information is far from complete, notably missing China, which considers any such requests a state secret. The United States also restricts disclosure of some user information requests, such as National Security Letters. Nevertheless, Google's Government Requests tool is a tremendously important first step towards informing the public about the extent to which governments around the world seek information about them and we commend Google for creating it. Historically, much of this information was tightly held by governments and service providers, and the public had little ability to review government encroachment into their private spaces. As we push for strengthening the federal privacy law regulating government access to Internet communications and records as part of the Digital Due Process coalition, this information will be an important part of the ongoing debate.


Google says the top five countries requesting removals are Brazil, Germany, India, the United States and South Korea. When it comes to data requests the top country is Brazil, followed closely by the United States, the United Kingdom, India and France.


Google's new Government Request tool shows exactly how many times governments from around the world either asked Google to remove content or to provide user information. And how often Google complied. It's quite the roadmap to intrusion. The figures correspond to the second half of 2009, and will be updated every six months.