We all love the internet, of course. It’s a platform of innovation and creativity. But reiterating, this is a two-edged sword. It can also be used to suppress that creativity and innovation. Free expression is core to Google. Our products are created to foster that. When our services are blocked, they don’t have a use anymore. This is not the internet Google wants.
This freedom of expression in our world comes with a price. We receive a lot of requests to take down information. We also have in-house rules on certain content – for example not having child pornography. This is an evolving approach and one where we have to make a judgment case by case. Our default position is to let information flow in as many ways as possible.
We balance a range of factors. We have to take a look at the local law and culture, we have to look at the tolerance of the government and have to assess these different categories. A very important tool is transparency. If we remove content, you will find a note that it has been removed. Transparency is equipping the users to protect themselves.
We are publishing the Google transparency report, listing the number of governmental requests to take down information. The alarming thing is that in all countries these requests are increasing. Another thing is that we show in real-time how our internet flows. For example you can see when someone is tampering with the internet.
We are a private company, I don’t think we are assuming any responsibilities of the state.
If we care about the openness of the internet we have to make governments recognise its role.