Google shows governments seek to censor

Google has revealed the number of official government requests for data it receives.

The figures, which are split into data requests and removal requests, include court orders and applications from "other" government agencies

Brazil ranks as the country demanding the most data, - which usually means data about users - notching up 3,663 requests, closely followed by America at 3,580 and the UK at 1,166 data requests.

Brazil also asked for more content to be removed that any other country, submitting some 291 such requests.

Apparently, Brazil and India's high numbers are inflated by the volume of requests to remove fake profiles from social notworking portal Orkut, and Germany comes out top of the euro pops because of national laws which prohibit the promotion of Nazi ideals or paraphernalia.

Spookily, the Times published a story today under the screaming headline: "Britain heads Google’s European censorship list". It reads: "The British Government made more requests for content to be removed from Google last year than any other country in Europe, according to figures released by the company today."

Well, if that's the kind of quality journalism that Rupert Murdoch keeps wittering on about, frankly, you can hide behind your paywall and we'll keep our hard-earned money.

Now we're not the kind of highly-paid hacks whose writing is so spiffing the Times reckons you should pay to read it, but the last time we looked, Germany was still part of Europe. And, according to our massive team of sub-editors, 188 is a bigger number than 59.

If you're wondering where China is in all this, Google said that even though it refuses to kowtow to the pesky Communists when it comes to freedom of information, some things are best kept between friends.

According to Google: "Chinese officials consider censorship demands as state secrets, so we cannot disclose that information at this time."

Here are the tables in full (unlisted countries made less than ten requests)

Data Requests
Brazi: 3663
United States: 3580
United Kingdom: 1166
India: 1061
France: 846
Italy: 550
Germany: 458
Spain: 324
Australia: 155
Argentina: 98
Poland: 86
Belgium: 67
Netherlands: 67
Singapore: 62
Portugal: 45
Japan: 44
South Korea: 44
Switzerland: 42
Canada: 41
Israel: 30

Removal Requests
Brazil: 291
Germany: 188
India: 142
United States: 123
South Korea: 64
United Kingdom: 59
Italy: 57
Argentina: 42
Spain: 32
Australia: 17
Canada: 16