According to the firm, the number of countries censoring information has risen tenfold, from just four in 2002 to 40 in 2010. The Government Requests tool will be updated every six months, and will show every request that Google has received from nations regarding either Google or YouTube. The current map shows Brazil, the U.S., and the U.K. at the top of the tree for requests for data, and Brazil, Germany and India heading the list for data removal.
And what of China? Given that the Chinese authorities believe censorship information to fall under the aegis of state secrets, Google is unable (cynics and conspiracy theorists may prefer to replace unable with unwilling) to reveal the juicy details of the its relationship with the totalitarian state.
Given the fanatical secrecy and Omerta policy of just about every tech company these days, is Google being more open than the rest of the main players? Up to a point, Lord Copper. It’s a very clever move by the firm which, on a scale of one to Apple, rates (we reckon) around the 5.5 mark–low marks scored due to its reticence to talk about the way it generates its serious cash. What Google excels at on the full disclosure front is its tools that open other people’s privacy up–Street View, and yesterday’s revamp of Google Places, which, if it works the way Google wants it to work, will have Google eyes just about everywhere–apart from on itself.