Keep them in the dark

The Google Transparency Report: Copyright Removal Requests page is one resource that reveals just who it is that wants to keep us all in the dark. Guess who tops the chart this month?

The report on what companies have served Google with takedown notices under the DCMA is a valuable resource that provides a snapshot identifying who’s most involved in siphoning content off the “information highway”. The report itself doesn’t indicate whether all or any of these takedown notices are considered legitimate by Google. As a private American company subject to the DCMA their freedom of action is limited by both the law itself and the practicalities of trying to run a profitable business. Takedowns like those enumerated in this report are a sort of 21st century Index Librorum Prohibitorum. Anyone who knows the history of the Middle Ages can tell you how well that worked out.

Another tab of the Transparency Report shows the numbers of requests received by Google from government agencies for user information. Again, the top requester and the “percentage complied with” are predictable, given the effect of the Patriot Act and other laws enacted over the last 11 years. While it isn’t Google’s “fault”, it shouldn’t also not be a surprise that there are many people whose concern for their personal privacy has led them to take measures to avoid Google’s data aggregation machine — something that is not good for Google’s business, or any commercial entity that relies on their data.