Friday, December 23, 2011

A Security Analysis of Google Transperancy Report

Google publishes every six months a transparency report on the number of requests it receives and action taken from government agencies and courts around the world to remove content from our services and hand over user data. Removal requests ask for removal of content from Google search results or from another Google product, including YouTube.

The report excludes data on content removed by default by Google which violate its content policies such as pornography and copyright requests which are primarily received from private parties. This report is a significant first step and should be adopted by other social media sites.

Content Removal
Content removal requests are primarily in eight categories ranging from defamation to hate speech. Content requests are sometimes due to violation of local laws. The two categories that stand out are content deletion for Defamation and Privacy/Security.

The most shouted category Government Criticism seems to account for a low volume of requests. It seems that this category may be touted more vigorously by media when Governments try to regulate Internet content. We have seen this recently in India.

User Data Requests
User data requests ask for information about Google user accounts, primarily for detection or prosecution of criminal activities. Volumes seems low for the amount of content stored online but is increasing at a steady pace. I for one, would have expected this category to have much more requests, but the low volume is perhaps a reflection of the difficulty in tracing cybercrime due to the unavailability of trained law enforcement officers, cross juridiction issues and limitations of cyberforensics.

Related Reads : Censoring the India Web ! Why shoot Kapil Sibal?

 Eight Political Issues around Security and Privacy in Cyberspace

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