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Censorship Google Your Rights Online

Google Publishes Censorship Map 154

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the finger-pointing-is-fun dept.
Entropy98 writes "Google has released a censorship map showing how often countries around the world request user information and censor services such as Youtube. The US government asked Google for user information 4,287 times during the first six months of 2010. Information on China is conspicuously absent."
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Google Publishes Censorship Map

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  • I Remember hearing about this months ago, but I can't imagine hearing it anywhere else but here...

  • Dupe (Score:2, Informative)

    by Dynedain (141758)

    Where have I seen this before? Oh yeah, on slashdot almost exactly 5 months ago [slashdot.org].

    • Re:Dupe (Score:5, Informative)

      by Jeff DeMaagd (2015) on Tuesday September 21, 2010 @04:44PM (#33656040) Homepage Journal

      Yes and no. This looks like a new report, of the same kind, for a different time period. Five months ago, the report covered the second half of 2009, this report covers the first half of 2010.

      • Re:Dupe (Score:5, Informative)

        by emj (15659) on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @03:07AM (#33659702) Homepage Journal

        And here it is Googles transparency report [google.com] instead of a useless article with no links. Interesting that Germany and the US have the same amount of take down requests..

        • If you really want "punching above their weight"(given relative internet penetration rates) what is going on in Brazil? Is that all just because it is one of the few markets where Orkut ever went anywhere?

          Singapore is also running pretty high, per capita; but they've always been very open about their 'Statist with a smile' policy...
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by vux984 (928602)

      5 months ago it didn't have data for the first six months of 2010. ;)

  • Really, editors? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 21, 2010 @04:31PM (#33655940)

    You link to an article talking about it, but not the source link? http://www.google.com/transparencyreport/governmentrequests/ [google.com]

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by KlomDark (6370)

      Weird, the pin for the US is point almost exactly to where I grew up. Almost creepy!

      I wonder what they know now that I used to know then, before they erased parts of my memory back in 1989?

      • by elrous0 (869638) *

        they erased parts of my memory back in 1989

        That wasn't the government, it was the alcohol.

  • Yo dawg (Score:5, Funny)

    by selven (1556643) on Tuesday September 21, 2010 @04:33PM (#33655960)

    I heard you like censorship so I censored your censorship map...

  • Trust? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by nurb432 (527695) on Tuesday September 21, 2010 @04:44PM (#33656034) Homepage Journal

    Chinese officials consider censorship demands to be state secrets so we cannot disclose that information at this time," said Google.

    So tell me why we should believe anything they say?

    • Who is they? Google, or China? ...

      Ah, trust, the foundation of Knowledge... Have you ever been to Kahzakstan? Can you confirm it's existance?

      It could all be a clever ruse, you know. Everyone you've ever known could be lieing to you.

    • Re:Trust? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 21, 2010 @05:15PM (#33656306)

      Worse: it's not only China.

      According to other sources, National Security Letters (NSLs) from the U.S. government are not reported by Google.

      NSLs are issued with gag orders preventing their disclosure. They're essentially a method of bypassing the standard judicial process, instead using a system more closely resembling the Chinese government's secrecy. For Americans, they should be much more of a concern than the Chinese officials' "state secrets."

      Source:
      http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2010/09/google-government-requests-rise/ [wired.com]

    • by number17 (952777)
      Why do they even bother putting a question mark beside China when they only report one country in Africa? I could have sworn they had the internet in South Africa. Maybe im wrong.
      • by Ltap (1572175)
        It's not based on usage, it's based on takedown requests. If there have been no takedown requests, the country isn't on the map.
  • by d474 (695126) on Tuesday September 21, 2010 @04:47PM (#33656072)
    When the Government asks Google for information about a user, how is that "censorship"? It may be a violation of privacy, but it's not censorship unless Google admits that the government then used that information about the user to censor their online activities. Of course, I did not RTFA. I prefer to censor myself ;P
    • by Americano (920576)

      It's a tally of government requests that they've received - some of those requests were for the removal of data, so I guess that part (the minority, incidentally - 128 requests for data removal, versus ~4300 requests for user information) is censorship, but the vast majority of these requests is for user data, probably largely for police investigations.

      Slashdot likes to use big purple conspiracy words to generate a few more clicks on the link. "Google updates Transparency Report with 1H-2010 government req

    • When the Government asks Google for information about a user, how is that "censorship"? It may be a violation of privacy, but it's not censorship unless Google admits that the government then used that information about the user to censor their online activities.

      The user now lives in a very small room with no windows and no internet access. Does that counts as "censoring their online activities"?

    • In their FAQ, Google states "the statistics primarily cover requests in criminal matters".

      However, we don't let that interfere with our paranoia, or else the Terrorists win.

  • they should colour-code it so we can see a world snapshot of evil ;)

  • My first thoughts (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Ishkibble (581826) on Tuesday September 21, 2010 @04:50PM (#33656096) Homepage
    My first thoughts are 'this is great'. Google claims "don't be evil" so it better live up to it. Money corrupts a corporation and since they have gone public that has been called into question. I have an android phone and i happily let Google track me, i let them keep my email, my photos, my digital life, the least they can do is put out something like this. This map is not for me though, its for the average Googler who doesn't fully understand how Google collects and keeps and uses personal data.
  • We have met the enemy.

    He is us. (Or rather our leaders.)

    • by poity (465672)
      "Le mieux est l'ennemi du bien."
    • by cgenman (325138)

      Considering there are about 310,306,840 people in the US, the chance of any one person having been queried by the US government to google in a given year is only one in 72,000. While I'm cautious of government intrusion into private matters, that's hardly 1984.

      • Considering there were about 25 million living in 1940s Germany, the chance of any one person being rounded-up & led to a deathcamp in any given year was only 1 in ~100,000 so why worry about the problem?

  • by CannonballHead (842625) on Tuesday September 21, 2010 @04:53PM (#33656134)

    They give the map with actual numbers, apparently, right?

    I'd be more interested in what percentage of data that Google COULD get asked about is actually asked about.

    Otherwise, it's like saying that I killed 300 cows whereas my neighbor only killed 1. Well, it just so happens that my herd is 300x as big, too... a more understandable reading would be the percentage of cows killed per herd.

    • by ADRA (37398)

      Pardon Me? Does Google segment data based on nationality? The origin of the individual(s) being investigated have no bearing as to their nation of origin, or are you more interested in just the raw population numbers of the country? Exactly what type of correlation are you trying to build? A given nation's government officials are probably don't limit their requests to simply inner-nationals, so wouldn't that make the proportion of people / size of community / etc.. numbers irrelevant compared to informati

      • These are requests to Google for information to either remove content or for disclosure of "user data."

        There is no correlation between what, say, the US can actually ask for/receive and how many requests Google gets.

        Assume, for example, DMCA. Raw numbers aren't as useful as DMCA vs. "Copyright Holdings" percentages/correlations. If you have one copyright and I have two, you might expect me to issue twice as many DMCAs as you do because I have more holdings.

        Perhaps I'm misunderstanding just what a given co

    • They give the map with actual numbers, apparently, right?

      I'd be more interested in what percentage of data that Google COULD get asked about is actually asked about.

      I'm not sure Data would really work like that. How many times do you think google COULD be probed for information? Wouldn't that number be somewhere in the high googols?

    • Ya know, you could've just said "per capita" and we'd have all understood. And if you just wanted to use a random analogy, it should've been about cars.
  • If you had linked to the map and not just an article about the map. The article doesn't even have a link to the map.

    • by owlnation (858981)

      If you had linked to the map and not just an article about the map. The article doesn't even have a link to the map.

      TFA does actually have a link to the map -- however, you'd easily miss it. It's at the bottom of the article, as a related link. The BBC's layout for stuff like this is appalling. What the actual point of the map image accompanying the article is, is also hard to figure out, since it's illegible and incomplete.

      There's also considerable irony in a State-run Broadcasting corporation report

      • by moortak (1273582)
        This news isn't five months old, the data isn't even that old. You may be thinking of the last time Google updated the transparency report.
  • by equex (747231) on Tuesday September 21, 2010 @04:59PM (#33656168) Homepage
    Look at the Traffic chart ( http://www.google.com/transparencyreport/traffic/ [google.com] ) Seems to be a huge peak and after that general activity falls quite a bit compared to before that date ?
    • by Mashiki (184564)

      I actually found that more interesting for Canada. See you have lots of traffic here until the first holiday in May. Once that happens, and it's the May 24 weekend, summer officially starts even if there is snow on the ground still. Ah winter, how you drive us indoors when you don't make us free outdoors.

  • by losttoy (558557) on Tuesday September 21, 2010 @04:59PM (#33656172)
    United States 4287 Brazil 2435 India 1430 United Kingdom 1343 France 1017 Germany 668 Italy 651 Spain 372 Australia 200
    • by poity (465672)
      And how many non-democracies allow Youtube (or even internet access) at all?
    • by h00manist (800926) on Tuesday September 21, 2010 @05:17PM (#33656322) Journal
      Not all of them
      Canada ............. 10
    • by Experiment 626 (698257) on Tuesday September 21, 2010 @05:34PM (#33656474)

      If a democratic government doesn't like what you are looking at online, they take it down.
      If a totalitarian government doesn't like what you are looking at online, they take YOU down.

    • by Capsaicin (412918) *

      Biggest democracies, biggest culprits

      Yes I was just looking at the map [google.com] and thinking, the places that have no markers on the you wouldn't want to live. Not that all of the places marked (eg. China) you would want to either.

      As far as the raw numbers you quote, how to they pan out when expresses as a meaningful metric such as take-down request per 100,000 population. Or some metric that also takes general internet access into account? I somehow doubt the biggest democracies would still emerge as the bigge

      • by guyminuslife (1349809) on Tuesday September 21, 2010 @09:51PM (#33658468)
        Come on! It doesn't take a rocket scientist to derive those values. Here's a list of government requests per million people, rounded and only including the countries where the number of datums requested was shown. Argentina - - - 3.307095
        Australia - - - 8.901248
        Austria - - - 0.238865
        Belgium - - - 6.557971
        Brazil - - - 12.581119
        Chile - - - 6.712585
        France - - - 15.539203
        Germany - - - 8.166034
        Hong Kong - - - 7.11602
        India - - - 1.203775
        Israel - - - 3.932982
        Italy - - - 10.7777
        Japan - - - 0.439595
        Libya - - - 22.761992
        Portugal - - - 6.86291
        Singapore - - - 20.879705
        South Korea - - - 3.415496
        Spain - - - 8.074172
        Switzerland - - - 4.497038
        Taiwan - - - 5.620141
        Turkey - - - 0.702854
        United Kingdom - - - 21.658479
        United States - - - 13.815395
        • Argh, WTB newline for Argentina.
        • Sorted: Libya, United Kingdom, Singapore, France, United States, Brazil, Italy, Australia, Germany, Spain, Hong Kong, Portugal, Chile, Belgium, Taiwan, Switzerland, Israel, South Korea, Turkey, Japan, Austria

  • State Secrets (Score:5, Interesting)

    by hondo77 (324058) on Tuesday September 21, 2010 @05:05PM (#33656210) Homepage

    "Chinese officials consider censorship demands to be state secrets so we cannot disclose that information at this time," said Google.

    Somewhere in Washington, D.C. or nearby Virginia, someone in a cubicle just said, "Ooh, good idea!"

    • by T Murphy (1054674)
      ...and hopefully someone who knows that person will read a slashdot post about hitting people on the head with a sledgehammer and say "Ooh, good idea!"
  • http://edition.cnn.com/2010/TECH/web/09/21/google.transparency/ [cnn.com] Its's only going to get worse. Fully free speech is not really supported anywhere. Society is full of injustice, and those forces are coming to bear on the InterWebs as it starts to affect them in real terms. In Brazil the government is starting to issue digital certificates for all companies and persons, so far compulsory only for certain companies. With widespread biometrics and certificates, things can certainly become very controlled and
  • We censored the information about our censorship, therefore we do not censor.

    ***

    I thought it was interesting that democracies are the ones asking most frequently. It's possible that's because non-democratic states already know via other means. It's also possible that democracies are less stable.

    ***

    Another thought is that this is only one view of the situation. If the USA asked for censorship information 4,287 times and that enabled them to catch pedophiles/terrorists/enslavers 4,214 times, we're all doing p

    • by h00manist (800926)

      USA asked for censorship information 4,287 times and that enabled them to catch pedophiles/terrorists/enslavers 4,214 times, we're all doing pretty well by that outcome.

      Washington DC is just bursting with joyful smiling good guys in shining armor on a white horse galloping to save you and your family from the bad guys.

    • by Dan667 (564390) on Tuesday September 21, 2010 @05:34PM (#33656476)
      they generally yell "think of the children" when they are taking away your rights so how can you tell?
    • by Cimexus (1355033)

      I think it's actually because democracies are MORE stable. Most democracies are first-world countries and hence are more 'organised'. They have established processes and institutions to deal with this kind of stuff. Whereas if you are a less developed country, your government probably has bigger concerns on its plate - e.g. 'how do we prevent ourselves getting thrown out in a coup next week?' or 'why is everyone starving?' or 'why haven't I received as many bribes this year?'. They probably don't even have

  • Chaina is missing due to a Google bug. They coded it with an INT32, but they really needed an INT64 for China
  • Requests for user information is not censorship, as speech is not being blocked. It is being traced to its origin. The map is a "spy on your citizens" map, NOT a censorship map. Different thing.

    Potentially every bit as bad, but let's use accurate terminology. The "scare you into accepting draconian laws" people use distortions and bad use of emotionally loaded terms; it's one of the things that makes them evil. Journalists calling information requests (lawful or otherwise) "censorship" shows the journalis

    • by moortak (1273582)
      The map also has an information removal listing for each country. That pretty clearly falls under censorship.
  • Looking at the 6 month traffic report for Singapore, what happened towards the end of May and onwards? There's a precipitous drop in traffic for the unencrypted Google Search traffic down to less than half the pre-June traffic levels.
  • by Tom (822)

    also conspiciously absent: a simple link to the map [google.com], which is slightly hidden among other links at the end of the article.

  • For China, just leave it up to your imagination how bad it could be. People will gravitate towards the worst-case scenario, and the lack of transparency will only increase that.

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