Internet censorship doesn’t just happen in China. Google has just released a new online tool showing which countries are blocking its services and products.
"We believe that this kind of transparency can be a deterrent to censorship," David Drummond, Google's chief legal officer, said on the search engine’s blog Tuesday.
Drummond said the tool, called Google Transparency, will help show whether traffic disruptions in services and products such as Google Search, Google Maps, and YouTube are related to mechanical outages or government interference.
"When Google's services are blocked or filtered, we can't serve our users effectively," Drummond wrote. "That's why we act every day to maximize free expression and access to information."
The Internet search giant has maintained a similar tool for its services in China, which has blocked YouTube since March 2009. Now that data is being integrated into the Transparency Report it shows, for example, that YouTube has been blocked in Iran ever since the country’s disputed presidential election on June 12, 2009.
Google has also updated Government Requests, another online tool that shows how often governments ask the search giant for information about users or ask that it censor content.
The latest period covers the first half of this year and shows how many demands Google has complied with. The United States tops the list with 4,287 requests for data and 128 removal requests. Google said 82.8 percent of the removal requests had been "fully or partially complied with."
Next is Brazil, with 2,435 data requests and 398 removal requests. Google complied fully or partially with 67.6 percent of those requests, most of which were related to the Google-owned social network Orkut, which is popular in Brazil.
India was next with 1,430 data requests and 30 removal requests, 53.3 percent of which were fully or partially complied with.
Google also noted that China is not listed among the countries on the Government Requests page. "Chinese officials consider censorship demands as state secrets, so we cannot disclose that information at this time," Google said.