Google has updated their Transparency Report panel, making it easier for users to find out what information the search giant has been asked to disclose to the government from July through December 2010.
The concept behind the Transparency Report is simple: as one of the leading organizers of web content in the world, Google is asked regularly to take down videos, forum discussions, and other user-contributed data by governmental entities across the globe. And that's not even to mention the requests for personal data about their users, like Gmail messages and chat logs.
But the Transparency Report is designed to let users know just how often those requests were made, and which services the requests pertain to. The changes that went live today include: the ability to see data on a country-by-country basis; clearly disclosed grounds for removal requests (hate speech, defamation, et cetera); and a percentage of user data requests they've complied with.
Here's what the official Google Blog entry has to say about their stance on governmental data requests and the Transparency Report:
Our goal is to provide our users access to information and to protect the privacy of our users. Whenever we receive a request, we first check to make sure it meets both the letter and spirit of the law before complying. When possible, we notify affected users about requests for user data that may affect them. And, if we believe a request is overly broad, we will seek to narrow it.
In other words, Google can't always stop them from taking your data. And the US is leading the way with more takedown requests than any other country. For a deeper look into the data the Google Transparency Report has collected, ZDNet's Rachel King has more insight here.