Google launches Transparency Report

Google has announced a new project which it hopes will highlight government censorship and influence in how the Internet runs across the globe.

The Transparency Report project combines two existing Google projects - the interactive map of data access requests from various government officials, and an traffic graph that shows history traffic patterns for various parts of the world.

By making the traffic graphs available, Google is able to demonstrate - without publicly stating - which countries are likely to be blocking traffic to Google services by way of censorship.

It also provides a useful warning system for large-scale network failures - if the traffic from a certain country suddenly dips, the chances are good that there's been another disagreement between a big boat and an undersea cable somewhere.

The Government Requests map, on the other hand, is more overtly political in nature. A Google Maps mash-up, it displays the number of government enquires seeking to obtain personally identifiable user data, along with official requests to take down or censor Google-hosted content.

Each request is given a pin on the map - giving a handy at-a-glance view for which countries are most vociferous in their demands to block or track Google users and their content.

Both services are live on Google's website now, under the Transparency Report heading.