Google recently released its annual Transparency Report, which is also available online. According to Google, more governments are looking for censorship and asking for users’ personal data. This makes one wonder if our government has once asked for the data about us too. For seemingly simple users that we all are, just merely Facebooking, Tweeting and Googling, could we pose any threat to anyone?
The more astonishing thing about this report is that Google admits complying with more than half of these requests. There had been a total of 1007 requests from different governments around the world. The increase has been especially seen from the U.S. government, which flaunts around as the sole champion of freedom of expression, especially when it comes to countries like China, Pakistan and the region of the Middle East. But according to Google, the U.S. government has alone requested more than 6,000 times to give users’ private data.
Despite rise in such requests, the cyber crimes still persist and government agencies own computer networks have been hacked. However, the reason is that the requests have been mostly about taking down content rather than for catching the criminals. So much for the freedom of expression and freedom of information!
This hypocritical act is not exclusive to the U.S. alone as many of the European democracies have presented Google with the same content take down requests especially concerning political and public figures. Other requests by the U.S. government has also been about revealing user’s IP addresses, which are used for tracking down criminals.