Google outlines censorship policy

Google has highlighted the increasing number of countries which censor web content, including its own.

The company's Global Communications VP Rachel Whetstone says that the number of governments which restrict access to the Internet have grown from just four in 2002 to over 40 today.

She also says that of the 100 countries services by the search engine virtual monopoly, as many as 25 are currently blocking one or more Google service, ranging from Blogger to YouTube, and even Google Docs.

"Increased government censorship of the web is undoubtedly driven by the fact that record numbers of people now have access to the Internet, and that they are creating more content than ever before," she said in an official blog. "This creates big challenges for governments used to controlling traditional print and broadcast media."

Whetstone doesn't single out individual countries for criticism but says that Google strives to be transparent with its users about what content it has been required to block or remove so they understand that they may not be getting the full picture.

"We have a bias in favor of people's right to free expression," she said, adding "We are driven by a belief that more information means more choice, more freedom and ultimately more power for the individual."