Google wants to help you see who's snooping around your Internet. The search giant has recruited technology university Georgia Tech to create tools that will tell you when governments and broadband providers are monkeying with the Web.
Ars Technica reports that Google is giving the Georgia Institute of Technology $1m to design a suite of Web-based tools capable of measuring the entire Internet. Ordinary people anywhere in the world will be use the tools to see what their broadband provider or government is up to, on their computer, smart phone or tablet.
Using the tools, you'll be able to see if the government is intercepting or tampering with your email, social network or other digital communication. You'll also see if Internet service providers are restricting your Internet use. ISPs call this traffic management, which can involve throttling (slowing your connection) or shaping (restricting certain services, particularly file-sharing).
British broadband providers recently signed up to a code of conduct that will make it easier to compare their traffic-management practices. Traffic management goes against the level playing field principle of Net neutrality, but ISPs argue it's essential because the explosion in Internet use is placing an impossible strain on data networks.
Censorship is a sore subject for Google. The search giant had a controversial spell in China where it bowed to government restrictions before being hacked by that very government. The Big G pulled out of China, fingers well and truly burnt. But it's not just in China that censorship and surveillance is rife: our lot are at it too, according to Google's twice-yearly transparency report. Initiatives such as Google's planned tools to see who's snooping and sites such as WikiLeaks will hopefully make the Web a more transparent place.
Would you use Google's tools to see who's got their fingers in your Internet connection? Let us know in the comments or on our Facebook wall.