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Google announces transparency site

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., Sept. 21 (UPI) -- U.S. Internet giant Google said Tuesday it has created an interactive map of government inquiries about users and government requests to censor content.

The Mountain View, Calif., company said in a statement, "We hope this step toward greater transparency will help in ongoing discussions about the appropriate scope and authority of government requests."

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Google said the interactive traffic graphs provide information to Google services around the world, each graph showing historic patterns for a given service and country or region.

"By illustrating outages, this tool visualizes disruptions in the free flow of information, whether it's a government blocking information or a cable being cut," Google said. "We hope this raw data will help facilitate studies about service outages and disruptions."

The information is at www.google.com/transparencyreport/governmentrequests/, the company said.

On Aug. 14 activists protested outside Google's headquarters against a company proposal they say would create a more restricted Internet.

About 70 demonstrators organized by MoveOn.org, Free Press and other groups protested against an agreement between Google and Verizon that supports federal rules governing Internet access, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

Critics say they fear the rules proposed by Google and Verizon would compromise an open Internet, and they object to provisions such as one that sets different standards for wireless access providers and land line networks.

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Google has said it supports an open Internet and argues Internet service providers should give users open access to all legal Web content, sites and services.

But protesters said the proposed rules contradict that view.

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