Feeds

Google tuts at gov caginess with Transparency Report

No doubt the precogs have already seen this

Boost IT visibility and business value

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. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
Munich considers dumping Linux for ... GULP ... Windows!
Give a penguinista a hug, the Outlook's not good for open source's poster child
Yes, but what are your plans if a DRAGON attacks?
Local UK gov outs most ridiculous FoI requests...
Detroit losing MILLIONS because it buys CHEAP BATTERIES – report
Man at hardware store was right: name brands DO last longer
Govt control? Hah! It's IMPOSSIBLE to have a successful command economy
Even Moore's Law can't help the architects of statism now
Snowden on NSA's MonsterMind TERROR: It may trigger cyberwar
Plus: Syria's internet going down? That was a US cock-up
This'll end well: US govt says car-to-car jibber-jabber will SAVE lives
Department of Transportation starts cogs turning for another wireless comms standard
e-Borders fiasco: Brits stung for £224m after US IT giant sues UK govt
Defeat to Raytheon branded 'catastrophic result'
New voting rules leave innocent Brits at risk of SPAM TSUNAMI
Read the paperwork very carefully - or fall victim to marketing shysters
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.