Thursday, April 22, 2010

Transparency: now for government requests too

This is my personal blog, and I try hard to keep my Google work-life out of it. I try to resist the temptation to turn this into a running daily diary of privacy at Google, since that would be a different blog. But sometimes, Google launches something that is so important in privacy terms that I can't resist some personal comments.

The most recent launch answers a basic question: how many requests does Google get from governments for user data? Take a look at the map and the country-by-country data.

This is an important step on the road to transparency. Users should be able to see their own data. And they should be able to get maximum information too about who else can see their data, including, perhaps more important than anyone else, governments. I haven't seen any other company provide this level of transparency. Hopefully some others will be inspired to do this too.

1 comment:

Álvaro Del Hoyo said...


Such a nice initiative. Yesterday I did comment it to Barbara Navarro on an email.

May be you can tell us against how many of this requests Google has gone to court, the result, and even what competitors did in case they receive same requests ;-p

Guess you are right. Some others will come after, like with log retention period initiative you promoted in the past for instance.

Not only for this particular initiative our users can realize of your efforts on transparency.

Am thinking as well on Google Privacy Channel on Youtube, and some other initiatives.

This tractor effect is what am seeing behind this 10 privacy watchdogs letter to Google asking for better legal conformity in terms of privacy.

Yesterday I did read that Google View vehicles are registering MAC addresses broadcasted by WLANs in the area. If this is true, guess you should have been transparent beforehand.

Information is giving you great power, but by now i guess you are dealing with it great responsibility, without prejudice that some times you may commit mistakes, and normally you are correcting them promptly.