Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Economic Freedom and Government Requests for Data

Google has made available the number of requests for information and requests for removal of information that various governments made from July 1, 2009 to December 2009. I was curious what kinds of countries made various kinds of requests, so I plotted their Index of Economic Freedom score against their number of requests.

There are so few observations that's it's hard to say much. I had to throw out most of the removal request data because so many of them were classified as "less than 10" rather than specific number. It looks like there is a weak negative relationship, as one might expect--countries with lower rankings on the index of economic freedom made more requests. I suppose one could consider all sorts of variations on this, such as requests per capita. Maybe an industrious undergraduate could take a look at this. China is missing from this data, which leaves the U.S. with the most requests for data, and Brazil with the most requests for removal. Apparently Brazil's government requests lots of information from Orkut, which is a social networking site. Perhaps it's part of anti-drug investigations or some other criminal investigations. 

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