[marketwatch] Google Inc. on Tuesday disclosed information about requests from governments around the world for data on the company's users.
The information, which covers the period between July 2009 and Dec. 2009, also includes requests for the removal of certain content. It was disclosed as part of Google's unveiling of its "Government Requests tool."
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Google said in a posting on a company Web site that it plans to update the information in six-month increments.
According to the information disclosed Tuesday, Brazil made the most data requests during the period, with 3,663. The U.S. followed close behind, with 3,580 requests. The U.K. was a distant third, with 1,166 requests, followed by India at 1,061 data requests.
Brazil also topped the list of those countries making removal requests, with 291. Germany was second, with 188 removal requests, followed by India, with 142 requests. The U.S. made 123 removal requests during the period, Google disclosed.
No information was offered for removal requests or data requests made by the Chinese government.
Google has been at odds with the Chinese government over local political censorship of Internet search results, and recently began routing visitors to its Chinese site to an unfiltered search service based in Hong Kong.
Google's move also comes as legislation has been introduced in the U.S. which could compel Internet companies doing business abroad to disclose whenever they receive user data requests from foreign authorities. See related story.
In the past, Google rival Yahoo Inc. has found itself embroiled in controversy after information about its users in China was given to local authorities, leading to the users' imprisonment and torture.
Google said it was disclosing the information "in the spirit" of principles laid out by the Global Network Initiative, a group that promotes freedom of expression online and also includes Yahoo and Microsoft Corp.
Google acknowledged that the information is not comprehensive, however, and noted that there may have been some doubling-up - with multiple requests potentially coming in for one specific action.
The information does not disclose whether Google complied with or challenged any of the data requests.
Google discloses government requests for user data