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WASHINGTON – The American Civil Liberties Union today welcomed a new tool launched by Google to track and display the number of government requests the company receives worldwide, country by country. The Government Request Transparency Tool differentiates between requests for removal of particular content and requests for private user data. According to the company, there is no way yet to distinguish between the number of requests that Google did and did not comply with. The ACLU has been calling on Google and other corporations to disclose this kind of information for years and hopes it will provide momentum for reforming the out of date Electronic Communications Privacy Act.
The following can be attributed to Laura W. Murphy, Director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office:
“With this tool, Google has shed an important and much-needed spotlight on government use of online information. Americans for too long have been kept in the dark about how their private information is stored, used and shared. It is our hope that this tool will help Americans to better understand the relationship between private companies and our government.
“The ACLU has called for this type of disclosure for years and believes it should be mandatory as part of any reform of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act. Congress should make updating the law a priority so that other companies will fall in line with Google and allow for greater transparency when it comes to the government’s requests for our information.”