We also regularly receive requests from law enforcement agencies to hand over private user data. Again, the vast majority of these requests are valid and the information needed is for legitimate criminal investigations. However, data about these activities historically has not been broadly available. We believe that greater transparency will lead to less censorship
In our experience over the years a very small percentage of content removal requests from governments have centered on political speech, but often those requests are the ones that spark the most vigorous debate within Google. We have complied with some of those requests if, for instance, the material violated our own content policies. But for others, we didn’t. For example, in Argentina, a federal prosecutor claimed that information about him and his wife (a federal judge) had been posted for analysis on two political blogs and asked that we remove them. We removed a portion of one of the blogs for revealing private information about the judge, but otherwise did not comply. We also received a demand in late 2009 from a Canadian politician for the removal of a blog criticizing his policies. Again, we declined to remove the blog, because it did not violate our policies.