US, Brazil lead Google's Top 10 censorship list; China off the chart
After government's criticized Google for disclosing too much private information, the company released country-by-country data on the number of government requests for user information and data removal.
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5 France: Paris made 846 data requests but fewer than 10 removal requests. President Nicolas Sarkozy has struck a hard line on Internet issues, and in February, the lower house of the French parliament approved a draft bill that would allow the state unprecedented control over the Internet, causing civil rights activists to decry increased censorship and surveillance. The new legislation would also allow police and security to spy on private computers, according to Der Spiegel.Skip to next paragraph
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4. India: Google received 1,061 data requests and 142 removal requests from India, whose estimated 48 million users makes up the fifth largest Internet community in the world. In India, according to the web monitor Open Net, “targeted censorship around issues of political and social conflict is a reality, particularly in areas of unrest. With the political turmoil present in the continuing dispute with Pakistan over Kashmir as well as fighting between religious groups, and issues between castes, the state takes an interest in censoring offensive material that could induce violence.”
3. United Kingdom: Gordon Brown's government leads Europe on Google’s Internet censorship list. As in the US, intelligence gathering seems the primary reason for London’s interference with Google, as the United Kingdom made 1,166 data requests – the third highest – and 59 removal requests, primarily related to YouTube. Restrictions on terrorism-related content, according to Freedom House's Internet Freedom Program, have in some instances caused the removal of information that was potentially beneficial to the public. Extensive surveillance is also a concern.
2. United States: Google complied with 80 percent of the American government’s 123 requests for data removal, which mostly focused on YouTube, The US made a whopping 3,580 data requests in the last half of 2009. While Google has in the past gone to court to prevent the US Justice Department from getting broad lists of people's search requests, the Pentagon sees user information as important in cracking down on militant groups that are increasingly using the Internet to streamline their recruiting and training.
1. Brazil: The South American industrial giant made the most requests for both user content and data removal. Brazil's 3,663 data requests and 291 removal requests (primarily associated with the social networking site Orkut) underscores Brasília's restriction of free speech. Like Germany, Brazilian legislation restricts publications considered racist (such as neo-nazi sites). The government has also banned electoral campaigns from using such tools as Orkut, YouTube, e-mail, and SMS to circulate their political messages, according to Freedom House's Internet Freedom Program.