Google recently put up a list ranking world governments according to their demands for user data and data removal and guess what? The U.S. ranks right up there with the UK and Brazil at the top.
That should come as a surprise given Hillary Clinton‘s remarks on the importance of keeping the internet free. Of course, for most of us, there is nothing surprising about he contradiction. Western democracies perpetually crusade in favor of censorship except they disguise it as being “for the children”.
From the Christian Science Monitor:
“Government censorship of the web is growing rapidly: from the outright blocking and filtering of sites, to court orders limiting access to information and legislation forcing companies to self-censor content,” Chief Legal Officer David Drummond wrote on the official Google blog.
The data does not include government requests for removal of copyrighted content or for the removal of pornography, which Google says it censors on its own. The report also doesn’t indicate whether Google complied with or challenged any requests.
It’s nice to see Google bring this discussion out into the open. So much nicer than hearing about it after the fact as when the U.S. intelligence agencies illegally spied on American citizens with the help of the country’s major telephone service suppliers. When the government intentionally operates outside the law as it did in that case, companies know immediately that failure to comply could be a costly proposition. And if there’s anything that the Bush wiretapping scandal has shown, it’s that there are no repercussions when the government breaks the law, so there is no incentive not to do it again.