Google is with the Governments and also with the Users, No Google is just playing and earning good.
Google is starting to do a very good job at making their government involvements, like legal requests to have information removed, more transparent. A new site titled â€œGovernment requestsâ€ shows a world map along with information for many countries in regards to how many government requests were received. Clicking on a particular number breaks this down into request types, such as â€œ20 Web Search (court order)â€ or â€œ15 YouTubeâ€.Â Limitations to this data apply, as Google mentions.
One reason of making this public is that Google wants it users to know if and what there Government is requesting to block, may be they can add a reason due to which the Government asked particular data to be removed. Google is also making a list of most Stingy Government Country. Brazil leads the chart with 291 requests. Germany shows at number two with 188 requests. (Iâ€™d like to see an option to sort the request number relative to the population, though based on this data we could calculate that ourselves.) Worth keeping in mind that a single request may be far-reaching or rather small in scale, so the mere number of requests does not equal overall â€œcontrol scope.â€
When We say Google makes this data â€œneutrallyâ€ transparent then thatâ€™s perhaps just on the surface. Governments more often than not prefer to keep control instances in the dark, because exposed in daylight they lose some of their power. (Imagine a governmentâ€™s lists of censored URLs being revealed â€“ such censorship measures would now backfire because censored URLs might gain more prominence.Â Not a mere hypothetical example, either.) Implicitly We would say Google is showing theyâ€™re on the side of the countriesâ€™ citizens, i.e. the Google users. Those favoring the governments on the other hand might find some of Googleâ€™s recent moves to beÂ less humble.
Between the lines, and this time even nearly on the record, you might also read a â€œhelp us with this issueâ€ stance. Google says, â€œAt a time when increasing numbers of governments are trying to regulate the free flow of information on the Internet, we hope this tool will shine some light on the scale and scope of government requests to censor information or obtain user data around the globe â€“ and we welcome external debates about these issues that we grapple with internally on a daily basis.â€
On the other hand, we need to keep in mind that there is still a long way to go before Google really makes their government involvements all transparent. For many requests in the past on that subject, I received a â€œno commentâ€ answer from Google. Also, not all countries get a number plate on Googleâ€™s new map. China appears with a prominent red box with question mark on the world map, the web-infamous irony here being that the more you try to hide something the more visible it becomes. (China is also singular in Googleworld because itâ€™s the only country receiving a special page listingÂ which Google services are inaccessible from that location.)
And china happens to be the only country which treats there censorship demands as state secrets and feels uncomfortable showing themÂ publicly.
Another point of interest is that Google sometimes looks as though theyâ€™re doing more than strictly requested. Take their explanations of the German censorship, for instance:
Germanyâ€™s numbers are also high relative to other countries. A substantial number of the German removals resulted from court orders that relate to defamation in search results. In addition, we receive lists of URLs from BPjM (BPjM-Modul), a federal government youth protection agency in Germany, for sites that contain content that violates German youth protection law, like content touting Nazi memorabilia, extreme violence or pornography, and we may remove those search results from google.de. Approximately 11% of the German removal requests related to pro-Nazi content or content advocating denial of the Holocaust, both of which are illegal under German law.
The BPjM is, by its name â€“ often not by its implementations and actions â€“ specifically aimed atÂ youth protection; the â€œjâ€ in BPjM stands for â€œjugendgefÃ¤hrdendâ€, which translates to â€œharmful to young persons.â€ This would imply that when I turn off the SafeSearch option in Google.de, I would get all those results in full. (Google introduces SafeSearch like this: â€œMany users prefer not to have adult sites included in search results (especially if kids use the same computer).â€) That, however, is not the case.
Google has previous transparency efforts in this direction. For one thing, some countries link to a page showing more details when web results are amiss (the link goes to a site called Chilling Effects). And even when the fact of removal is not linked to more details â€“ in China itâ€™s not linked â€“ the mere existence of a notice is already more than what much of the tech competition in search is willing to offer to users. In a way, this can all be seen as tying into Googleâ€™s general â€œopenâ€ strategy: requests transparency, stopping China blocking, the GoogleÂ data liberation efforts, Googleâ€™s many open source projects, Googleâ€™sÂ user data privacy dashboard. I could imagine that even within Google, motivations for these acts differ. Some may argue that for net age long term success you can grow big but never big and scary, while others may have reasoning grown out of Googleâ€™s â€œwe should do better and be differentâ€ DNA. Also, that â€œfree flow of information on the Internetâ€ which Google mentions on their new site is good for users, but at the same time partially the basis of Googleâ€™s revenue. But if itâ€™s the case that commercial and ethical interests happen to be aligned, should we even complain?