Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Google Reports on Government Requests and Censorship

Lately, Google has been receiving criticism from transparency and privacy advocates for complying with government requests to block Internet traffic to certain websites. In response, Google has created a new tool called the transparency report (www.google.com/transparencyreport/). The report shows when and where traffic is blocked and annotates the blockages when possible. For example, the report shows that YouTube has been blocked in Iran since the presidential election in 2009. The report also features a map that shows every request made to Google by governments. I think that this tool could be extremely useful in the classroom. It provides an excellent opportunity to discuss the governments and societies of other countries within the framework of technology and freedom. Students could learn about current events, geography, constitutional law- all while discussing the benefits of technology and the opportunities it provides us.