Earlier this year Google launched an innovative “Government Requests map,” which showed how regularly governments around the world were asking Google to remove information or content from its index and services. Google won plaudits for the initiative, as well as criticism from some governments that the map allegedly made look like censoring regimes.
Yesterday Google folded the Government Requests Map into a new two pronged “Transparency Report.”
The new “report” will feature the existing Government requests for content removal, which have been updated, and a traffic timeline. The latter “visualizes disruptions in the free flow of information, whether it’s a government blocking information or a cable being cut.” For example in Iran YouTube hasn’t been available since last year’s presidential election and government crackdown.
Google says that it hopes these tools will help combat censorship around the world:
To promote transparency around this flow of information, we’ve built an interactive online Transparency Report with tools that allow people to see where governments are demanding that we remove content and where Google services are being blocked. We believe that this kind of transparency can be a deterrent to censorship.