The Aussie Government Loves Asking Google For Stuff

The Aussie Government Loves Asking Google For Stuff

The Aussie Government Loves Asking Google For StuffGoogle has launched a Government Requests site, showing which global governments have asked it to either remove links or offer information about users. Not surprisingly, the censorship-favouring Australian Government is quite high on the list.

According to Google’s data, which covers July to December 2009, Australian governments made 155 requests for data and asked for 17 items of content to be removed. Google complied with just over half the requests. The vast majority of removals were from YouTube, though whether that reflects RC content or copyright violations isn’t clear.

Google Government Requests


  • The Aussie Government “Loves” Asking Google For Stuff?

    Take all the sensationalist speculation out of this story and all you have is “The Aussie Government Asks Google For Stuff”

    We don’t even ask Google for the most stuff. We are 9th and 10th on the list. How about this for a title: “The Aussie Government Loves Asking Google For Stuff, But Not As Much As 9 or 10 Other Countries”

    Try saying this to your girlfriend “I love you but not as much as 9 or 10 other guys”

    How about this for speculation: most of these requests probably relate to ongoing criminal investigations and have nothing to do with “a censorship-favouring Australian Government”.

    As for whether the removals relate to copyright violations. The FAQ states: “The vast majority of requests for removal of copyrighted material on YouTube are received from private parties; some may come from state or foreign governments, but that number is very low. Regardless, such requests are not reflected in these statistics.”

    • Ok lets consider those figures

      Country, Population, Data Requests, Data Requests per head, Removal Requests, Removal Requests per head
      Brazil 191971506 291 1.51585E-06 3663 1.9081E-05
      UK 61414062 59 9.60692E-07 1166 1.89859E-05
      France 62277432 10 1.60572E-07 864 1.38734E-05
      USA 307006550 123 4.00643E-07 3580 1.1661E-05
      Italy 59832179 57 9.52665E-07 550 9.19238E-06
      Australia 21431800 17 7.93214E-07 155 7.23224E-06
      Spain 45555716 32 7.02437E-07 324 7.11217E-06
      Germany 82110097 188 2.28961E-06 458 5.57788E-06
      Argentina 39882980 42 1.05308E-06 98 2.45719E-06
      India 1139964932 142 1.24565E-07 1061 9.3073E-07
      South Korea 48607000 64 1.31668E-06 44 9.05219E-07

      Sorted by removal requests per head, Australia is 5th on the list. Hardly what I would consider right out in front.

      *Yes I have too much time on my hands

      • @Aaron There are 195 countires in the world. Australia is no 5 out of them. That’s pretty far out in front. Pull ya head in, Australia. You ain’t perfect – in fact, you have a damn ugly side that the world is starting to recognise.

  • Interesting that China comes LAST on the list, but with a question mark! The note reads….
    “Chinese officials consider censorship demands as state secrets, so we cannot disclose that information at this time.”

  • Anyone scrolled to the bottom of the list?

    Ironically, the bottom of the list is home to the biggest proponent against internet free speech.

    And here is the bottom 5….

    Switzerland <10
    Taiwan <10
    Thailand <10
    Turkey <10
    China ?

    You gotta love the question mark.

  • Hang on, the bottom most entrant (excluding China) is Turkey at “<10". Two places below Australia is Armenia, also at "<10". To get into this prestigious <10 alphabetically sorted communal place stretching from 12th place to last (data available) place, Australia would need to make approximately half the number of requests as it currently does. If instead of halving, the number of requests were doubled, Australia would move from position 10 to position…9. By 2 requests.

    To put it another way, if you put a serial murderer, a jaywalker, and 8 perfectly innocent people in a room, the jaywalker is the second most seasoned criminal there. It may be well and fair to chastise the jaywalker for their anti-social road-crossing behaviours that threaten the very foundations our nation is founded on, but perhaps the serial killer is the one to address first.

    A more interesting set of data is Google's compliance on the issues. Within the top 8, the lowest rate of compliance on the part of Google is for Italy at 75.4% "removal requests fully or partially complied with." For the 966 removal requests in the top 8, 807 were complied with, for an average compliance of 83.5%. For the next 3 ranks (Spain, Australia and Canada, before we get to the "<10"s), the 65 removal requests are complied with 33 times, for an average compliance of 50.7%. Spain gets the highest compliance, with 53.1%.

    With far less requests than the higher positions (see paragraph one if you've skipped ahead to here) along with a lower compliance rate, I wonder whether this is telling of a lack of understanding by the governments of Spain, Australia and Canada about what they are and aren't entitled to take down. Requests to remove things that they have no legal right to ask for leads to confusion, dissatisfaction, and a lack of willingness to try again next time. Meanwhile, other states like Germany (2nd, 94.1%), the USA (4th, 80.5%), and South Korea (5th, 89.1%) have a stronger understanding of how to use the system, and not only use it more, but use it more successfully. Examples of this could be stuff like asking to remove data marking the location of a witness under police protection from Geo (successful), as opposed to asking to remove data marking the location of a minister's house (unsuccessful).

    Anyways, rant over. Bottom line is, Australia is third from the bottom, assuming you consolidate the mass of alphabetized "<10" entries into one (are you seriously saying Turkey is more than 20 ranks "better" than Armenia because it comes at the bottom?), but a more interesting bit of info from this table is the lack of success in Australian requests getting processed.

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