Brazil: Google Is Making Us Look Bad


See this screenshot above? The Brazilian government doesn’t like it. Actually, they don’t like where it came from: Google’s Government Requests tool, which was just launched last week.

The AP reports that Brazil’s government has contacted Google’s representatives in that country for clarification about the numbers shown above — numbers that Brazil says give the country a bad name.

Google’s tool shows two kinds of numbers: Government requests for user data and government requests for content removal. The numbers cover requests made between July and December, 2009. In both cases, Brazil has made the most requests of any country. Its 291 content removal requests are more than 100 ahead of Germany, and its 3,663 user data requests are almost 100 more than the U.S.

In the AP story, Brazil’s prosecutor says most of its requests are about child pornography or racist content. But Google’s help documents say that the tool doesn’t include requests related to child porn.

Our policies and systems are set up to identify and remove child pornography whenever we become aware of it, regardless of whether that request comes from the government. As a result, it’s difficult to accurately track which of those removals were requested by governments, and we haven’t included those statistics here. We counted requests for removal of all other types of content (e.g., alleged defamation, hate speech, impersonation)

I suspect this won’t be the first international complaint about Google’s government requests tool; I also suspect that means Google considers the tool a success.

Related Topics: Channel: Industry | Google: Critics | Google: Legal | Google: Outside US | Legal: Censorship | Top News


About The Author: is Editor-In-Chief of Search Engine Land. His news career includes time spent in TV, radio, and print journalism. His web career continues to include a small number of SEO and social media consulting clients, as well as regular speaking engagements at marketing events around the U.S. He recently launched a site dedicated to Google Glass called Glass Almanac and also blogs at Small Business Search Marketing. Matt can be found on Twitter at @MattMcGee and/or on Google Plus. You can read Matt's disclosures on his personal blog.

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  • Bradd Libby

    Will Brazil’s requests to have Removal Requests removed themselves be recorded as Removal Requests?

  • diogomattos

    The tool is definitely a success, the biggest problem is that here is a infinity of pseudo-celebrities who are deemed authorities in the country (and actually are) can do what they want here, simply because they have more money than most of the population uses the Internet at Brazil. And they use any reason to sue anything and anyone. Be welcome to the third world.
    The rest of the world really have no idea how politics works here.

  • KevM

    It’s a necessary level of transparency needed for government interaction with the search engine behemoth.

    Of course there are going to be complaints about it – until this tool was launched there was next to no way these requests would have ever been made public. Only the highest profile cases made headlines; but this will provide some additional insight into the actions of “big brother”.

  • Michael Martinez

    “It’s a necessary level of transparency needed for government interaction with the search engine behemoth.”

    You can’t be serious. This is just another of Google’s bullying tactics, in its hope to intimidate governments into not making these kinds of requests.

    Look at how they try embarrass and humiliate people who issue them takedown requests. Those people get listed at ChillingEffects.Org, which essentially perpetuates the myth that enforcing your intellectual property rights is an immoral and unethical practice.

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