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Google Enumerates Government Requests

kdawson posted about 4 years ago | from the you-asked-we-told dept.

Censorship 216

D H NG writes "In the aftermath of Google's exit from mainland China, it had sought to be more open about what it censors. Google has launched a new tool to track the number of government requests targeted at Google and YouTube. These include both requests for data and requests to take down data. A quick look at the tool shows that Brazil is the top country in both categories (largely because Orkut is popular there), and information for China cannot be disclosed because 'Chinese officials consider censorship demands as state secrets.' As part of its four-part plan, Google hopes to change the behavior of repressive governments, establish guiding principles for dealing with issues of free expression, build support online to protest repression, and better provide resources and support for developing technology designed to combat and circumvent Internet censorship."

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216 comments

Do it! (1)

ZeBam.com (1790466) | about 4 years ago | (#31915050)

It's starting to sound like Google is pissed off and not going to just let it go. Go for it, Dude!

Re:Do it! (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31915674)

Today I had a notion that I can only wish might become viral. Since the Chinese government wants to censor web pages that critisize the Chinese government, the logical thing to do is to get some sort of criticism onto all possible web pages .

(Example criticism: "The Chinese government is run by cowardly barbarians. They are proved to be cowards because they are afraid to let their citizens have guns; they are proved to be barbarians because they think their political views are the only ones that matter. The Chinese government therefore deserves to be replaced; the Chinese people need to replace their government with people who are not cowardly barbarians.")

The result, of course, is that the idiot Chineses government censors will try to censor the entire Internet outside of China, which will not be tolerated for long by the Chinese people....

Any second now. (4, Insightful)

moogied (1175879) | about 4 years ago | (#31915062)

Queue the people explaining how this is evil because its "not enough".

Re:Any second now. (5, Funny)

zill (1690130) | about 4 years ago | (#31915106)

Cue the grammar nazis too while you're at it.

Re:Any second now. (4, Funny)

Animaether (411575) | about 4 years ago | (#31915170)

Given the error, queueing the grammar nazis might not be such a bad idea.

Re:Any second now. (0, Flamebait)

Drekkahn (1773086) | about 4 years ago | (#31915426)

I wonder if they are going to enumerate the Obama Regimes purchase of adds that come up with a search of "Goldman Sachs SEC".

Re:Any second now. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31915546)

I wonder if they are going to enumerate the Obama Regimes purchase of adds that come up with a search of "Goldman Sachs SEC".

I know this has turned into a 'grammar & spelling' thread, but did you have to add to it with your anti-Obama ad?

Re:Any second now. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31915456)

Given the error, queueing the grammar nazis might not be such a bad idea.

Q the Star Trek character to make the GP perform in a rendition of Robin Hood.

Re:Any second now. (1)

countertrolling (1585477) | about 4 years ago | (#31915152)

When pandering to China as they are, yes. It's not enough. It's a big loophole that all governments may try to exploit.

Re:Any second now. (4, Insightful)

ElectricTurtle (1171201) | about 4 years ago | (#31915646)

Google is trying to keep its employees and former employees out of prison. You do realize that these requests made by the Chinese government were processed in part by Chinese employees of Google, yes? Well if Google airs all the requests in violation of Chinese law, guess who ends up in pound-you-in-the-ass prison? It's not Larry and Sergey. I'm glad that Google has conscience enough not to throw its current and former Chinese employees under the bus just to make political hay or accomplish a goal, however admirable that goal may be.

Re:Any second now. (0, Redundant)

countertrolling (1585477) | about 4 years ago | (#31915694)

That's why they should completely pull out. There's nothing "political" about this. It's a public relations gamble to make a another fast million. Chances are it'll work.

Re:Any second now. (1)

Peach Rings (1782482) | about 4 years ago | (#31915898)

Google obviously employs/employed Chinese citizens. They can't just fly everyone to another country and give them a new life.

Re:Any second now. (3, Informative)

cyfer2000 (548592) | about 4 years ago | (#31915866)

Google China's top sale (Zhongjie Song) has joined Chinese yellow page website www.aibang.com [aibang.com] as president.

The top R/D person (Jin Wang) joined google's direct competitor Baidu as vice president.

I think I know what other google's employees in China are busy with recently? And I don't see why they will end up in jail.

Re:Any second now. (3, Insightful)

ElectricTurtle (1171201) | about 4 years ago | (#31915980)

Your cherry-picked examples have vanquished me! Clearly this demonstrates that no peon(s) would be singled out to be made an example of for others who might be so bold as reveal state secrets. After all, China has no history of doing things like that.

(That's all sarcasm, dawg.)

Re:Any second now. (1)

Mr. Freeman (933986) | about 4 years ago | (#31915280)

It certainly isn't evil, but the number of requests really doesn't say a whole lot. How many were legitimate? Who exactly requested the takedown (FBI, NSA, CIA, local police, etc.)? Why was the request issued/granted? It's a step in the right direction and I hope to see them go further with it.

Re:Any second now. (1)

cmiller173 (641510) | about 4 years ago | (#31915506)

Definatly. They need to let us drill down further into the underlying data.

Re:Any second now. (1)

hey (83763) | about 4 years ago | (#31915728)

The pretty map would be better replaced by PDFs of the actual gov't requests.

Re:Any second now. (1)

omnichad (1198475) | about 4 years ago | (#31915840)

That would just give some people an online directory to all child porn that has been removed from Google searches.

Re:Any second now. (1)

BitZtream (692029) | about 4 years ago | (#31915558)

Well, its evil, but not because its not enough.

Its evil because its too much.

You'll have to pardon me if I don't like dealing with companies that are out and about pushing their agenda's as if its for the good of the people. Even if it IS for the good of the people, I still don't want to deal with a company pushing its own political agenda on me, ESPECIALLY when it comes to one like Google which is trying to have its hands in everything.

Google needs to stay neutral.

I'm sure I'm in the minority or alone, but if China wants to censor stuff, thats their business.

There are PLENTY of Chinese that could take over their government and resolve the censorship problem tomorrow if they wanted to.

Its not important enough or doesn't matter enough to people to do anything about it. It is entirely possible (admittedly, unlikely) that the majority prefer it that way. I don't know. What I do know is that I REALLY don't like when people from no where near me, especially half way around the world, start telling me about how I'm wrong and I need to be more like them.

Its retarded to assume you are right and the are wrong, even though I agree that china would be a shitty place to live. My culture and personality dislike it because I was brought up in America ... taught to hate the things that China and Russia do.

What I've come to learn is that ... many times what I think is utterly 'wrong' or 'evil', other people can completely justify and are okay with and almost convince me that its okay until that little voice kicks in and says 'no really, its not'.

I really don't like when companies stick their noses into other peoples business, regardless of why. Its evil because it has nothing to do with 'the right thing' and everything to do with 'we can make lots of money if we can get China to give in to us, AND we'll get a lot of points with the rest of the world for doing it!'

Re:Any second now. (2, Insightful)

Tanktalus (794810) | about 4 years ago | (#31915746)

Sometimes, staying neutral is pushing an agenda. It could be the agenda of making the almighty dollar at the expense of everything else. In this case, that agenda would be pushing the agenda of the Chinese government to oppress their own people. Google is merely saying that they cannot push their own agenda (of making money) if it also pushes an agenda they cannot agree to (censorship).

There is no neutral here. Either you support China's agenda by doing what they tell you, or you do not support China's agenda. Either one is an agenda.

Basically, support Google if you support their agenda. Do not support Google if you do not support their agenda. But don't complain that they, unlike most corporations, are blatantly obvious about their social agenda.

Re:Any second now. (3, Funny)

HeckRuler (1369601) | about 4 years ago | (#31915636)

F that. This is a fantastically move by Google. Open minded and forward thinking, this is the direction that I want the world to go in.

Three Cheers!

HIP HIP...

Re:Any second now. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31915792)

Not going to argue against Google, but surely it would be better to see all the abusers of the copyright being shown as well?

After all, i want to know what companies i can tell to shove a stick of TNT where only doctors dare go.

All you have to do is redefine the request (3, Insightful)

voidptr (609) | about 4 years ago | (#31915064)

So if Google's already shown if a state considers that information a state secret they'll recind publishing it, who wants to bet there will be a bill in Congress by tomorrow classifying it in the states too?

Re:All you have to do is redefine the request (2, Insightful)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | about 4 years ago | (#31915100)

How many bills in Congress were passed because the Russians were doing it during the Cold War?

I don't think that'll happen, IMO.

Re:All you have to do is redefine the request (3, Interesting)

Trepidity (597) | about 4 years ago | (#31915122)

That wouldn't have much effect: due to the First Amendment, it's not actually illegal for third parties to republish classified information. It is a crime to leak it in the first place (so e.g. if you're a CIA officer and start mailing out documents, you can go to jail), but not to publish if you somehow get a hold of it [wikipedia.org]. So making it classified information wouldn't prevent Google from publishing their own statistics.

Re:All you have to do is redefine the request (2, Interesting)

corbettw (214229) | about 4 years ago | (#31915954)

But it is illegal to violate a court's gag order. So watch as a new, automatic, clause is inserted in every single warrant to access Google's systems going forward. Something to the effect of establishing a gag order on the recipient of the warrant.

Wasn't Google going to pull out of China? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31915066)

Before everyone got distracted with all of the iPad hype and nonsense, we were all hearing about how Google was going to be pulling out of China. Whatever happened with that?

Re:Wasn't Google going to pull out of China? (2, Interesting)

zill (1690130) | about 4 years ago | (#31915244)

March 22, 2010: Google starts redirecting all traffic to their uncensored Google Hong Kong.

March 30, 2010: Mainland China blocks all Google service. The block only lasted a day.

Beijing used a lot of harsh words, but in the end Google and all their employee in PRC were not prosecuted and they continue to operate without censorship on Chinese soil. Google - 1, China - 0 so far.

Re:Wasn't Google going to pull out of China? (1)

cyfer2000 (548592) | about 4 years ago | (#31915894)

But all traffic from google has been censored by the GFW, Chinese people are the biggest loser here.

Change government: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31915072)

...information for China cannot be disclosed because 'Chinese officials consider censorship demands as state secrets.' As part of its four-part plan, Google hopes to change the behavior of repressive governments...

I can see where this is going:

Citing pressure from Google all governments decide censorship demands are state secrets and cannot be disclosed publicly

Grow a pair google (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31915074)

I'd saw specifically because China says "state secret" you should do it.

Go Canada! (5, Funny)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | about 4 years ago | (#31915076)

Now I have something else to distinguish myself from our brothers to the south besides a ridiculous accent and a distinct smell of maple syrup!

Re:Go Canada! (5, Interesting)

MrWiggum (910429) | about 4 years ago | (#31915328)

To bad those numbers aren't per capita. If you consider that the population of the United States is roughly 9 times that of Canada. Then Canada has more removal requests per capita.

Re:Go Canada! (3, Interesting)

gangien (151940) | about 4 years ago | (#31915420)

on a more serious note, Canada's population is 10% of the US. Coincidentally, the number of requests is about 10% of the US's.

Re:Go Canada! (1)

gangien (151940) | about 4 years ago | (#31915460)

i should say for the removal requests, the data requests, is way more for the US, which is kind of scary

Re:Go Canada! (2, Informative)

chappers1 (1715080) | about 4 years ago | (#31915640)

Surely population and removal requests are not linked? A repressive government would want to remove more results irrespective of how many citizens it is repressing.

Re:Go Canada! (1)

Imrik (148191) | about 4 years ago | (#31915742)

A repressive government will want more results removed, but so will a government with more google users.

Re:Go Canada! (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | about 4 years ago | (#31915474)

Thats what makes Canada such a great place. I can drive for 3 hours in any given direction and not hit another city with a population over 2000.

Makes for great vacationing.

Re:Go Canada! (1)

AuMatar (183847) | about 4 years ago | (#31915566)

Funny. When I go on a vacation I look for culture, history, local entertainment, new experiences. 3 hours of nothingness sounds like the exact opposite of what I'd want.

Re:Go Canada! (1)

ajrs (186276) | about 4 years ago | (#31915750)

Funny. When I go on a vacation I look for culture, history, local entertainment, new experiences. 3 hours of nothingness sounds like the exact opposite of what I'd want.

Oh, you have to drive 4 hours for that

Re:Go Canada! (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | about 4 years ago | (#31915812)

I wouldn't consider the Culture, history, and local entertainment of your hometown a real vacation though.

What I mean is, when I want to get away from the city - I don't have to leave the state.

Re:Go Canada! (5, Funny)

Urban Garlic (447282) | about 4 years ago | (#31915790)

> I can drive for 3 hours in any given direction and not hit another city with a population over 2000

I used to have a car like that...

Don't be silly! (1)

Benfea (1365845) | about 4 years ago | (#31915974)

You also have better beer, an obsession with some bizarre game that involves using a broom on ice, and the penchant for putting gravy on fries. ;)

Well, pull out of China completely (2, Insightful)

countertrolling (1585477) | about 4 years ago | (#31915096)

And tell them where they can put their "state secrets". Maybe if they disclose all their "requests", they'll stop making them.. But no... appeasement is the word of the day.

Why? (4, Insightful)

MrTripps (1306469) | about 4 years ago | (#31915098)

So why can't Google tell China to go pound sand and post them anyway? They can always blame it on some anonymous hacker, say the data was found in a bar, or just slip it to Wiki Leaks.

Re:Why? (4, Insightful)

Nadaka (224565) | about 4 years ago | (#31915348)

Possibly because they still have people in china that will be arrested, found guilty and executed if google went that far.

Screw China. (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | about 4 years ago | (#31915416)

China’s censorship demands stop being “state secrets” and become public knowledge as soon as they give them to a private international US-based company, Google, and that company decides to publish them.

Hey China: Secrets are things you don’t tell people. If you want to secretly censor stuff, we can’t stop you, but you can’t tell us to help you censor stuff and at the same time keep it a secret.

Re:Screw China. (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31915684)

Parent must be a yank who thinks his arrogance can defend him against China. I doubt he would be so arrogant if he was in China himself but no he is in his armchair in some place in America and probaby thinks sea serpants pervade the Atlantic Ocean and the Earth is flat and when he says he has been abroad he means in the neighbouring state.

Re:Screw China. (1)

cyfer2000 (548592) | about 4 years ago | (#31915924)

That's actually what's going on now. China government is censoring the traffic from google without letting google know what's going on.

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31915484)

Didn't they already do this?
http://www.marketwatch.com/story/google-redirects-china-traffic-to-hong-kong-page-2010-03-22 [marketwatch.com]

Google Inc. on Monday started redirecting traffic for its China page, google.cn, to the company's uncensored Hong Kong page, google.com.hk. On a company blog, Google said it has stopped censoring Web services in China. Google called the move "entirely legal," and said it will continue research and development activities in China. The move is the latest in Google's feud with China over the censorship of search results. (Updates for Google's blog announcement.)

Request vs Demand (3, Interesting)

chill (34294) | about 4 years ago | (#31915126)

What they DON'T show -- and I've sent feedback asking for -- is how many of these are legal demands, such as warrants or court orders, versus informal requests.

For anyone else interested in requesting the same info, here is the link: http://www.google.com/support/websearch/bin/request.py?contact_type=privacy&ctx=contactpolicy [google.com]

Re:Request vs Demand (3, Interesting)

Animaether (411575) | about 4 years ago | (#31915264)

Some of the "we complied with this 'request'" bits - for data removal, they don't show stats on information requests at this time - do show "(court order)", though.

Which of course has me curious.. which Google Video item was removed by court order from the U.S. government?

Re:Request vs Demand (2, Informative)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | about 4 years ago | (#31915340)

What they DON'T show -- and I've sent feedback asking for -- is how many of these are legal demands, such as warrants or court orders, versus informal requests.

It looks to me like all the ones that are court orders have "court order" in parenthesis after the listing. So for Canada (as an example) there were 16 removal requests, two of which were court ordered.

Less than 50% for Canada? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31915138)

What, because we are mostly pacifists you ignore our requests? You wanna fight about it?

Removing content or destroying content? (1)

Orga (1720130) | about 4 years ago | (#31915160)

All the talk of being asked to remove content made me wonder if they're simply removing it from public access and are keeping this information somewhere? If they don't destroy it and court ordered removed information gets out at some future point could Google be held liable?

Transparent, benign big brother? (4, Interesting)

sznupi (719324) | about 4 years ago | (#31915166)

I don't think Orwell saw that one coming...

Re:Transparent, benign big brother? (1)

megrims (839585) | about 4 years ago | (#31915814)

Really? Is it possible for a profit motivated organisation to be benign?

Re:Transparent, benign big brother? (2, Interesting)

osu-neko (2604) | about 4 years ago | (#31915932)

Really? Is it possible for a profit motivated organisation to be benign?

It's as possible as it is for any human organization to be benign. (You can take that as a yes or a no, depending...)

Re:Transparent, benign big brother? (1)

steelfood (895457) | about 4 years ago | (#31915862)

Big brother is only as transparent and benign as he/it wants to be.

Benevolent dictatorship is still dictatorship. The vassals are still subject to the whims of the master.

Good middle ground. (1)

2obvious4u (871996) | about 4 years ago | (#31915180)

I guess we can't have a completely free internet (Google self censors); however Google does work to have a mostly free internet except for where the majority of the worlds population would agree with them. If you are in a minority that believes Child Porn is OK and Hate speech is OK then you're out of luck. Other than that Google does seem to push back against the authority. I just hope they don't start self censoring morally ambiguous activities like sex and drugs.

The FAQ is interesting. [google.com] The majority of requests are DMCA take down requests by private entities; which is not tracked by this tool.

Re:Good middle ground. (3, Informative)

Aladrin (926209) | about 4 years ago | (#31915222)

"I guess we can't have a completely free internet (Google self censors);

You're free to post anything you want on your site, within the laws of your country. Move to the right country and you're totally free to post anything.

Google is also free to -not- post things to their site that they don't want to.

Sounds like it's 'completely free' to me.

Re:Good middle ground. (3, Insightful)

countertrolling (1585477) | about 4 years ago | (#31915358)

If you are in a minority that believes Child Porn is OK and Hate speech is OK...

I don't believe those things are OK, but I do know that censorship is much worse. Find another way to deal with the problem..

Re:Good middle ground. (2, Insightful)

agm (467017) | about 4 years ago | (#31915928)

Speech of any kind should be ok. Speech never harms anyone - actions do. The state (of any nation) has no business limiting any speech, unless it is slanderous.

You said it well (1)

Benfea (1365845) | about 4 years ago | (#31915986)

Pornography (child-involved and otherwise) is often the excuse governments use for politically-based censorship. In fact pornography is exactly the Chinese excuse for censoring the Internet!

Re:Good middle ground. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31915660)

If you are in a minority that believes Child Porn is OK and Hate speech is OK then

... go over to a darknet or TOR.

pleasantly surprised (3, Interesting)

circletimessquare (444983) | about 4 years ago | (#31915216)

google could have so easily gone the traditional "sacrifice all your values for the pursuit of money route", but they actually showed they have principles and a backbone

google, you've earned my loyalty and respect. integrity: what a rare and wonderful concept

as for china considering censorship requests to be state secrets: well of course it does. just like the church of scientology considers its sacred texts to be intellectual property. i mean, if you're going to be a controlling asshole, at least be true to the concept to the inevitable extreme of absurdity, right?

wikileaks: get that list of censorship requests. google, give that list up: you've already burned your bridges

oh, and btw: fuck you censorial controlling assholes. you are clearly on the losing side of history. i look forward to your inevitable demise

 

Re:pleasantly surprised (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31915530)

Well, I'm not as pleased are you are.
I find the FAQ is somekind of disturbing. It is explained that in some countries, Google took the decision to not fullfill a request to remove content not because of the legality of the content but because the content respect google own policies.
As far as I understand, it does mean that google could decide (or have already decided) to remove content not because of its legality in some countries but because it is against google policies.
How do you spell "censorship" again?

I would like to have the number of legal content that has been removed because it was against google policies..

I would like more information... (1)

jellomizer (103300) | about 4 years ago | (#31915266)

Like why they were taken down...
Blogs taken down because of slander or libel.
Add taken off because of false advertising
Search terms that are using in pedophile.

I would like to see why they were down more then how much was taken down. I want to know what is being censored not how much we are censoring it.

It's going to be a pretty good day (3, Funny)

blair1q (305137) | about 4 years ago | (#31915366)

One day, possibly not long from now, we're going to see China freed from the dictatorial, self-serving government Mao imposed on it.

That's going to be a pretty good day.

Brazil (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31915368)

A quick look at the tool shows that Brazil is the top country in both categories (largely because Orkut is popular there)

The reason Brazil is the top country is not only due to Orkut's popularity, but because many Brazilian laws were designed to limit freedom of speech and free enterprise. Anyone remember this [slashdot.org]?

A significant part of these government requests is probably tied to lawsuits involving Adwords. In the past, companies have been sued and found guilty for using their competitors' names as keywords in Adwords, for example. This practice is perfectly legal in most countries, including the US.

I wonder if Google can make this popular enough to pressure countries into changing their laws.

Re:Brazil (1)

vbraga (228124) | about 4 years ago | (#31915464)

Anonymity is also illegal under Brazilian law.

Although in a better shape now, the country still shows a lot of marks from it's dictatorial past.

Re:Brazil (2, Insightful)

acid06 (917409) | about 4 years ago | (#31915730)

Yes, I forgot to mention this in my previous reply.

I personally think it's very "amusing" to read the law where it says that freedom of expression is guaranteed but anonomity is forbidden. No anonimity boils down to no freedom of expression, because your freedom is limited by whatever the judge's interpretation of the law is.

Again, I really wish all these issues are brought to light by someone. Maybe Brazil is next in Google's crusade against censorship?

I imagine their actions could potentially be more successful around here when compared to China. As bad as it is, our government is probably in better shape than China's.

Re:Brazil (1)

vbraga (228124) | about 4 years ago | (#31915876)

As bad as it is, our government is probably in better shape than China's.

Is it? A former guerrilla leader running for President is very scary.

There's no really democratic and libertarian option in the Brazilian politics. The only option is the left.

As stated by Tom Jobim, Brazilian musician, "as duas saídas do Brasil são Galeão ou Cumbica" :)

Re:Brazil (0)

shutdown -p now (807394) | about 4 years ago | (#31915950)

Is it? A former guerrilla leader running for President is very scary.

Not really - ex-revolutionaries turning politicians happened many times in many countries, some of them quite democratic. Consider Sinn Féin, for example.

There's no really democratic and libertarian option in the Brazilian politics. The only option is the left.

Is it because anyone else is suppressed, or because libertarians etc are fringe minorities in Brazil? If the latter, I don't see how it is a problem.

Re:Brazil (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31915946)

Actually, anonymity is REGULATED in Brazil.

If you are from the registered press, your informants have the right of anonymity under certain conditions, for example.

And you cannot just demand to know whomever wrote something and get that info automatically: the right of privacy does exist. Just because you almost never can be anonymous, doesn't mean that who you really are is public information.

Re:Brazil (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31915624)

Did you actually look at the tool?

Out of the 291 removal requests from Brazil, 218 are related to orkut. None is related to Adwords.

Re:Brazil (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31915710)

I know for a fact that there have been several lawsuits in Brazil regarding Adwords.

So either the advertisers removed the keywords by themselves before the judge pronounced his decision (which made necessary only a data request, and not a removal request), or Google's statistics are incomplete.

Great, it's aborted before it begins (3, Insightful)

TheSpoom (715771) | about 4 years ago | (#31915378)

Without China, other governments will get the same idea, and the tool becomes completely useless. C'mon Google, grow some balls.

Brazilian Censorship (4, Insightful)

acid06 (917409) | about 4 years ago | (#31915402)

As a Brazilian, I'm glad this exposes a situation which isn't usually discussed but should be given more attention now that Brazil is trying to gain additional worldwide relevance (through G20 and all that).

Brazilian courts have been extremely unreasonable and have forced Google to hand over private information and take down pages without much fanfare. Even though none of the data is actually hosted in Brazil, the courts have fined and threatened to fine Google several times because of this.

In Brazil, service providers have liability for their users actions and there are laws protecting the "private image" of individuals (even celebrities). In effect, paparazzi can be sued around here. Journalists can be sued and bloggers aren't considered journalists. Writing a story denouncing a politician can get you a lawsuit.

All this mess accounts for a lot of these requests. Google isn't being evil, but I wish there was more international pressure against the Brazilian government.

Re:Brazilian Censorship (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31915540)

You cannot forget some of these requests might have been legitimate.

It would be very interesting to know what kind of requests they were.

Re:Brazilian Censorship (5, Informative)

vbraga (228124) | about 4 years ago | (#31915572)

Writing a story denouncing a politician can get you a lawsuit.

More likely, it will get you a lawsuit for libel.

Brazilian law is very repressive. It's ranked as "Partly Free" by the Freedom House on its Map of Press Freedom [freedomhouse.org].

Unfortunately, public awareness for this kind of issue is very low.

Re:Brazilian Censorship (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31915630)

Brazil seems to have kept many of the ways of the dictatorship, it's also where a US ambassador was kidnapped

Re:Brazilian Censorship (2, Informative)

vbraga (228124) | about 4 years ago | (#31915796)

Yes, also an US ambassador was kidnapped by a Communist guerrilla group in the 60s or 70s.

The fight between the military government (morally conservative but very pro-state intervention in economics) and it's opposition both democratic (mostly in the current Social Democratic Party, PSDB, the opposition) and the Communist guerrilla/syndicate leaders (the Workers Party, the current government) mostly shaped the contemporary Brazilian politics.

The opposition between a strong government and two other groups supporting strong government practices. A kind of liberalist nightmare.

Since the only viable parties come from the left the country is economically very statist. Almost any big project has a state-owned company in it.

And due to it's past it's also very repressive in politics for a democracy.

Re:Brazilian Censorship (1)

BitZtream (692029) | about 4 years ago | (#31915782)

In effect, paparazzi can be sued around here. Journalists can be sued and bloggers aren't considered journalists. Writing a story denouncing a politician can get you a lawsuit.

Except for the last sentence in that quote, the rest of it sounds great to me. I'm all for killing the paparazzi bullshit and I fail to see why blogging makes you a journalist so ... not really seeing the problem with most of it. I'd be happy if America did those first bits as well.

I wish you well in your efforts (1)

Benfea (1365845) | about 4 years ago | (#31915992)

And I hope Brazil's modernization goes well. The whole biofuel thing certainly raised interest outside of Brazil.

Wait a minute, Google owns big chunk of Baidu... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31915424)

How is that that Google has "exited" Chinese marked? They still own big chunk of Baidu they are not talking that loud of.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_acquisitions_by_Google

I don't get it. (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | about 4 years ago | (#31915604)

If Google pulls out and leaves China, what happens? I really don’t know. Are there Chinese people currently employed by Google? I suppose. Would they be in legal trouble if Google ditched them and left? They might. But I blame the Chinese government, not Google. It is not Google’s job to protect its Chinese employees from the tyranny of their own government. It is the Chinese people’s job to do that, and maybe if things get bad enough they’ll wake up and see this. And if things get REALLY bad, the other countries of the world may step in and do something... but it isn’t Google’s job. Google is a company, not a country.

It does sound cruel of Google to simply desert its Chinese employees. But I don’t understand why the Chinese government can seem to be holding an independent US-based company by the balls simply because they could jail a bunch of its former employees if Google doesn’t cooperate.

We don’t negotiate with terrorists, and that is a terrorist tactic: “we’ll hurt this innocent guy, whom you presumably care about, unless you do what we want you to do”.

No bias there ... (1)

BitZtream (692029) | about 4 years ago | (#31915722)

From: http://www.google.com/governmentrequests/faq.html [google.com]

Is this data comprehensive?

No

Many of those one-off requests may coincide with our own content policies, so when the numbers get small enough, they don’t necessarily reflect anything about the level of censorship in that country. Similarly, if a governmental agency used a web form to demand removal of content, we generally have no way of including those reports in our statistics.

Do you ever remove content that violates local law without a court order or government demand?

Yes. The statistics we report here do not include content removals that we regularly process every day across our products for violation of our content policies (for example, we do not permit hate speech in Blogger and other similar products) in response to user complaints. In many cases, those removals result in the takedown of material that violates local law, independent of any government demand or court order seeking such removal.

So basically, if the country agrees with Googles version of censorship, its okay ... but if it disagrees with Googles censorship, its not okay ...

I fail to see why exactly I'm supposed to be excited to trade one companies censorship for a countries censorship. In the end, the result will be the same, someone is still deciding who gets to see what, and that someone isn't me, so it doesn't matter who, what, when, where, or why ... Google is just as guilty of censoring as anyone else, by their own admission.

I'm rather happy to have certain things censored by Google. Censorship is not 'bad' just because. If you buy into this and think Google is good for it, you've just been manipulated by Google and a fair amount of your own ignorance. Good job, you're not officially a tool of the man.

Re:No bias there ... (2, Informative)

vikingpower (768921) | about 4 years ago | (#31915816)

You are greatly exaggerating. Google explicitly states that it takes down material when, amongst other conditions, it violates local law. Google has to comply as much with local law as you and I - at home and when we are abroad.

I'm not surprised. (1)

BitterOak (537666) | about 4 years ago | (#31915838)

I've seen the movie Brazil [imdb.com] and I know what it's like there! Also interesting that in terms of information requests, USA is a very close second.
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