Thursday, 22 April 2010

So which blog did an Australian government ask Google to trash?

Article 19 of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights states that "everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers." Written in 1948, the principle applies aptly to today's Internet -- one of the most important means of free expression in the world. Yet government censorship of the web is growing rapidly: from the outright blocking and filtering of sites, to court orders limiting access to information and legislation forcing companies to self-censor content.

So it's no surprise that Google, like other technology and telecommunications companies, regularly receives demands from government agencies to remove content from our services. Of course many of these requests are entirely legitimate, such as requests for the removal of child pornography. We also regularly receive requests from law enforcement agencies to hand over private user data. Again, the vast majority of these requests are valid and the information needed is for legitimate criminal investigations. However, data about these activities historically has not been broadly available. We believe that greater transparency will lead to less censorship.

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.

Here is the raw data for Australian government requests received by Google between July 1, 2009 and December 31, 2009:
  • 155 data requests
  • 17 removal requests
    • 52.9% of removal requests fully or partially complied with.
    • 1 Blogger
    • 1 Geo (except Street View)
    • 1 Web Search
    • 14 YouTube
This data does not include any blocking requests or requests to remove child pornography and, the statistics primarily cover requests in criminal matters including information concerning Google user account details or products.

Which leaves an interesting question hanging in the air.
Which blog did the Rudd Government (or one of the state governments) ask Google to remove from the Internet and did Google comply?


Jacus Roden said...

My household has two blogs currently subject to court orders, and thus shut down, of the half dozen we currently own.
Apparently, criticism of thieving landlords, incompetent government and police officials is enough to get a court order to shut down websites.
We're currently fighting to have such court orders overturned.
By our estimation, 2% of the Google "data requests" relate to our case, and at least 2 of the takedowns.

davyg said...

this is quite disturbing.

Fungus the Photo! said...

I had thought it was

but it is back up.


is down!!!!!!

Fungus the Photo! said...