Did you ever imagine that the US and England are among the main countries that attempt to block content from the public on Google? Countries like China, North Korea and Iran are the most notorious for imposing massive censorship on their population and Google has even taken measures to deny services in those regions. Now Google has built an interactive Transparency Report that reveals very surprising information about Western countries that also participate in the restriction of free expression. One specific report called Government Requests shows how, in fact, many Western Democratic countries such as your own have attempted to control your access to information via Google. This report reveals which countries’ governments have made requests to remove or retrieve private data from Google, how many requests were made, and how many were actually complied with.
An interesting question in light of this report is if these requests are perhaps legitimate and consist of removing illegal content such as child pornography, defamation, and terrorism? The answer is No. Google has systems already in place to block certain illegal content such as child pornography and Google states that the report ‘does not include violations of our content policies (for example, we do not permit hate speech)’ The report does not go into detail about the contexts surrounding the requests though Google explains that ‘the statistics primarily cover requests in criminal matters’ and ‘requests for removal of all other types of content (e.g., alleged defamation, hate speech, impersonation).’