Earlier this week, Google launched a new tool that maps government requests for user data and requests for the search engine to remove content. In the company's typical fashion, the tool was made available with little fanfare.

Called simply Government requests, the map spans the globe and offers insight into which governments are requesting user data and which are asking Google to remove content, which is broken down by the company's various properties such as Blogger, AdWords and YouTube.

Presently the map incorporates data from July 1, 2009 through Dec. 31, 2009. Most developed nations are featured, with the notable exception of China. Google cites its ongoing quarrel with Chinese government officials over censorship and state secrets as the reason data from that country is not currently mapped.

Brazil, Germany and India top the list for the most content removal requests. According to Google, this is due to the popularity of its social network orkut and in Germany, due in part to laws forbidding Nazi propaganda.

Brazil, the U.S. and the U.K. were tops for the number of user data requests. The majority of these requests come from law enforcement agencies.


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