Google updates Government Requests tool

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by CBR Staff Writer| 26 October 2011

Releases raw data behind the requests it received in the first half of this year  

Search engine company Google has updated the Government Requests tool with numbers for requests that it has received from January to June 2011.

Last year, Google had launched an online, interactive Transparency Report to show how governments affect access to information on the Internet.

Google said on a blog that all too often, policy that affects how information flows on the Internet is created in the absence of empirical data.

Google said that by showing traffic patterns and disruptions to our services, and by sharing how many government requests for content removal and user data it receives from around the world, Goolge hopes to offer up some metrics to contribute to a public conversation about the laws that influence how people communicate online.

In the blog, Goolge has mentioned how the data could be used by developers and interpreted.

Google senior policy analyst Dorothy Chou said, "For the first time, we're not only disclosing the number of requests for user data, but we're showing the number of users or accounts that are specified in those requests too.

"We also recently released the raw data behind the requests. Interested developers and researchers can now take this data and revisualize it in different ways, or mash it up with information from other organisations to test and draw up new hypotheses about government behaviors online."

Google has urged to modernise laws like the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, which regulates government access to user information.

Chou added, "We hope others join us in the effort to provide more transparency, so we'll be better able to see the bigger picture of how regulatory environments affect the entire web."

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