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Google Transparency Report shows UK leads Europe for Web snooping

Britain leads Europe -- in the number of government requests to Google for our information.

The British government has a few questions for Google -- more than any country in Europe, in fact. The search giant has released its second Transparency Report showing government requests for data, all plotted on a handy Google map.

Her Majesty's government leads Europe with 1,343 requests in the first six months of the year. That's an average of seven requests a day. The UK is fourth in the world after the US (4,287), Brazil (2,435) and India (1,430), and has one of the highest per-capita rates. Hey, at least our expense-fiddling lords and masters could compete on the international stage this summer, even if our overpaid and oversexed football team couldn't.

There may have been other requests, but those included here mostly pertain to criminal investigations, unearthing data like account registration and IP addresses. Westminster also made 48 requests to remove content.

The congenial Canucks of Canada and the firmly Net-neutral Swedes made no requests to Google -- and, surprisingly perhaps, neither did Libya or Russia. Maybe they have their own ways of finding out. China's entry in the report is diplomatic but intriguing: a single question mark.

Google began its transparency report in July 2009 as a deterrent to censorship. A new report will be issued every six months. We look forward to the next one to see how Clegg and Cameron's confederacy of dunces compares with Labour's nanny state.