When it comes to Google, people have always typically had questions about their intentions. It has seemed from time to time that the company is more concerned about advertising dollars, and keeping their operation as tightly sealed as possible – while expanding as quickly as possible – to ensure that they keep a dominant stance in the market place. Interestingly there has been a trend within the tech space to release figures on what kinds of content people, agencies, or governments actually put in requests to see taken down.
Facebook releases figures each year, and now Google also participates. They released their first set of figures last year, and the numbers were boring for the most part. People didn’t feel like they were shocked by anything that they read, but they also weren’t exactly overwhelmed by the data that the company decided to share. That left a lot of people asking more questions about what types of requests Google received and how they responded to a lot of those requests.
Well, now those questions have only been amplified as Google mistakenly allowed data to leak, which reveals some of the details about the types of content, which was attempted to be censored. Ironically enough, it also revealed how often Google conceded to those working to see content be censored. There is a split in the data. It showed that 48% of all personal requests were censored. Meanwhile, just 18% of requests made on behalf of criminal investigations were followed through on.
If this makes you say, “Wait, what?” you’re definitely not alone. After the figures were accidentally leaked, the Internet lit up in relatively short order from users who were curious about what content was being policed so greatly. While Google didn’t want to settle on anything in particular and left a very abstract statement afterward – there is something to be said for how the company currently sits.
They sit in a position where it would appear as though they cave to requests from random individuals more frequently than they do the government, and while that may be great for those who are working to ensure that the government, or various national interests aren’t being catered to – it leaves a very wide gap to question who, or what’s interests are being catered to. Forget about the government censoring data or information. We’re now left wondering who the nameless entities or people are, which have driven down content on Google and ensured that certain things remain put away.
The big question now is about Google’s transparency. Do they go all the way with it, and actually reveal who the silent individuals are who have managed to suppress a lot of data on Google – or will they simply set aside and let people wonder about it. At this point, it would seem wiser for Google to be at least specific about what has gone on. It would seem though, judging from the statements that have been made thus far by the company – that this won’t be happening anytime soon.