Oct 29

Brazil is champion of censorship requests to google

Google provides a tool that shows statistics of government requests to google for user data and removal of search results or any of its products. It is called “Transparency Report: Government Requests”

Today I remembered reading about it somewhere and I went to check the position of my dear country Brazil. What was my surprise to see that Brazil is the absolute champion in requests to remove content and runner-up in requests for disclosure of information, second only to the USA on this last. The government of Brazil, from January until June of 2010 sent 2435 requests for disclosure of information and 398 requests to remove content.

These requests included 19,806 individual items! Of these 398, or 67.6%, have been complied by Google. Just to have an idea, Argentina had only 134 requests for data and 12 requests for content removal. Totally out of proportion, no? This was just those 6 months. In the previous period (july to december of 2009) Brazil was the champion in both queries: 3663 requests for disclosure of information and 291 requests to remove content. Unfortunetaly there is data available only for those 2 periods.

For the removal of data, the breakdown of Brazil removal requests by product is shown below, the first number is the number of lawsuits and the second is the amount of items to be removed:

15/98 Blogger, Video 1/1, Gmail 1/1, Google Maps (Street View off), 1/1, Picasa 1/18318, orkut 99/1045 * 220 non-judicial applications, Web Search 13/275, 46/67 * 1 YouTube non-judicial applications

Orkut is a social media like facebook from google which is really popular in Brazil. That might justify in some way the disproportion regarding orkut requests.

A total of 15 blogs had the information about their authors passed to the Brazilian government, I wonder if mine is not on this list? :)

According to UOL news: “the figures depicted on the map refer to information involving defamation, hate crimes, and forgery. Child pornography is not portrayed in this tool, according to the company, because Google immediately remove this content immediatly, without the need for notification.

Below is a table with all major countries:

Country Jul 2009-Dec  2009 Jan 2010 – Jun 2010
Request of data Request for removal Request of data Request for removal
Brazil 3663 291 2435
Argentina 98 42 134 12
USA 3580 123 4287 128
UK 1166 59 1343 48
Germany 458 188 668 124
france 846 <10 1017 25
Austria <10 2
Israel 30 <10 30 4
Austrália 155 17 200 14
India 1061 142 1430 30
Italy 550 57 651 651
Russia <10 <10

It seems that the Brazilian judiciary has never heard of free speech or privacy. In recent days we have witnessed one of the most ridiculous cases of censorship involving Xuxa, a famous brazilian children program presenter which in her early days made light-porn movies, including one called “Love, Strange Love”, where she simulates love with a 13 years old boy.

She won an injunction in court an order to remove from google search results anything for the search terms “xuxa” and “pedophile.” It ended up being even worse, showing the strength of social networks, the term xuxapedofilia appeared on the list of most used terms on twitter, which must surely attract more people to see your pictures and movies.

Police state

In an annual report made by the site www.cryptohippie.com, Brazil is in 50th place. This ranking takes into account different aspects such as data retention, digital phone recording messages, ability to track financial transactions, among others. Brazil’s position was the same in both 2008 and 2010 reports. The way we are, with laws that will censor blogs and forums, body scanners at airports and chips and scanners in cars, very soon we will have a very ashaming position in this ranking.


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