Google Censorship Map Launched

Yesterday Google announced a new tool called “Government Requests,” designed to show various governments’ requests for information removal from Google’s index:

We are today launching a new Government Requests tool to give people information about the requests for user data or content removal we receive from government agencies around the world. For this launch, we are using data from July-December, 2009, and we plan to update the data in 6-month increments. Read this post to learn more about our principles surrounding free expression and controversial content on the web.

Right now the tool covers  July 1, 2009 and December 31, 2009 and Google says that it’s not entirely comprehensive. It shows two types of activity Data Requests and Removal Requests:

Removal requests ask for removal of content from Google search results or from another Google product, including YouTube. For purposes of this report, data requests ask for information about Google user accounts or products.

It also shows the percentage of requests that Google has complied with in each case. We can probably divide the two groups (Requests, Removals) into the “spiers” and “censorors.” 

This could form the basis of a kind of “censorship index” that gets officially reported. I think this is a great development and very useful information for people all over the globe to have about their governments. I wonder how long it will be before some start requesting the removal of or blocking this map itself?

3 Responses to “Google Censorship Map Launched”

  1. MrOpinionated Says:

    Anyone want to try and tackle why Germany is so high on the list? Do you think it has anything to do with the banning of any websites containing racially offensive material?

    • Greg Sterling Says:

      I don’t know. That’s plausible. Google obviously doesn’t provide information on the specifics of these requests. But it would be quite interesting if they did.

  2. lee Says:

    i can see the benefit with racism and certain porn, but it would be handy to know what has been removed or are we in a worse position than China. I notice google is on the CFR list too so keeping people in the dark would be very advantageous to them and many others.

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