Feeds

Google tuts at gov caginess with Transparency Report

No doubt the precogs have already seen this

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Google is spotlighting governments that don’t play nice with the all-seeing search giant, by releasing a so-called “Transparency Report”.

Google quickly fell into line with China recently by halting a redirect of Google.cn visitors to the ad broker’s Hong Kong servers, after Beijing officials threatened to pull the plug on Google’s search engine.

But now that Mountain View has had its Internet Content Provider (ICP) licence renewed by China, the company is once again pushing its tarnished “don't be evil” agenda.

Yesterday it launched tools that show users when governments around the world are censoring content or, worse still – for Chocolate Factory boss Eric Schmidt at least – altogether blocking Google services.

“When Google’s services are blocked or filtered, we can’t serve our users effectively. That’s why we act every day to maximise free expression and access to information,” said the firm’s top legal man David Drummond in a blog post.

“To promote transparency around this flow of information, we’ve built an interactive online Transparency Report with tools that allow people to see where governments are demanding that we remove content and where Google services are being blocked. We believe that this kind of transparency can be a deterrent to censorship.”

Drummond added an important disclaimer to his delicate attack against countries who want to control what their citizens can and can’t view via Google, by noting that the company’s services are sometimes hit with “traffic disruptions”.

But it’s not always Google’s fault, he said.

“Our new traffic tracking tool helps us and others track whether these interruptions are related to mechanical outages or are government-induced,” Drummond said.

The global tool, which displays graphs that show “historic traffic patterns for a given country and service,” replaces Google’s Mainland China availability chart.

The company has also updated its Government Requests map website, which carries data from the first six months of 2010 showing the number of gov inquiries for information about users and requests for Google to take down or censor content.

“Free expression is one of our core values. We believe that more information means more choice, more freedom and ultimately more power for the individual. Free expression is, of course, also at the heart of Google’s business. Our products are specifically designed to help people create, communicate, share opinions and find information across the globe,” said Drummond.

“We hope this step toward greater transparency—and these tools—will help in ongoing discussions about the free flow of information.”

Google has lately been bashed by privacy watchdogs all over the world for being sloppy with some of its user information, such as the recent Street View data slurp cockup and the stealth bolt-on of drag-me-to-Web2.0-hell Buzz in its Gmail service. ®

New hybrid storage solutions

More from The Register

next story
Hey, Scots. Microsoft's Bing thinks you'll vote NO to independence
World's top Google-finding website calls it for the UK
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Apple CEO Tim Cook: TV is TERRIBLE and stuck in the 1970s
The iKing thinks telly is far too fiddly and ugly – basically, iTunes
Huawei ditches new Windows Phone mobe plans, blames poor sales
Giganto mobe firm slams door shut on Microsoft. OH DEAR
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Found inside ISIS terror chap's laptop: CELINE DION tunes
REPORT: Stash of terrorist material found in Syria Dell box
OECD lashes out at tax avoiding globocorps' location-flipping antics
You hear that, Amazon, Google, Microsoft et al?
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.