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Google just introduced an app called the Government Requests tool. It’s a Google Maps app that shows how many requests each nation’s government has made for users’ personal information or for the removal of URLs from Google’s search index.
Google (Google) is the first Internet titan to make this information publicly available, and its decision to do so will put public pressure on competitors like Yahoo (Yahoo!) to follow suit. Wired quoted Google VP David Drummond, saying that the company hopes this and other steps towards greater transparency “will lead to less censorship.”
The tool provides two sets of counts recorded between July 1 and December 31, 2009: one of data requests and one of removal requests. Google only shares numbers for each, not any details about specific requests. It’s also important to note that the count doesn’t include take down notices issued because of copyright infringement. It does include other legit requests like the removal of child pornography or the retrieval of warranted data on criminals.