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Google Transparency Report shows increased government removal requests

Posted at 13 November 2012 18:55 CEST by Kerry Brown

Google has been publishing transparency reports since 2010, and they released their latest update today.  The report shows requests from various governments around the world to remove certain material from Youtube or Google search results, and for user information related to  that material.  The number of requests for user data has seen a steady rise, from 12, 539  during the period from July-December 2009, to 20,938 during the first half of 2012.  And requests for the removal of information has seen a sharp spike, up approximately 70% in one six month period.

Most of the requests for removal of information were due to defamation issues, with many of those backed by court orders, but a fair number of others fall into less clear cut categories, like government criticism, religious offense or national security.  Only a relatively few were due to copyright offenses.

Google has included some additional notes on these takedown requests.  Defamation of government officials is a common theme, as are criticisms of police forces.  Google did not comply in removal in many of these requests.  You can see the notable cases, broken down by country of origin,  here.

As Google rightly points out, this report of government surveillance and interference is only a small part of what is actually happening.  But other sites, like Dropbox, Linkedin and Twitter are beginning to share these statistics as well, which will give us a better understanding of government interaction with the internet around the world.

You can find the Transparency Report at Google’s official Blog.

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There are 2 comments

Kerry56
Administrator
Posted on: 14 Nov 12 00:50
    Ars Technica added a bit more regarding copyright takedown requests. The vast majority of these are done by private organizations not governments, and it is the fastest growing category that Google deals with. Google releases information on copyright violation requests every week, not just in the six month cycle for other requests.

    As stated in the Ars Techinca article:
    In mid-2011, Google was receiving takedown requests for approximately 100,000 URLs per week. Today, the search giant is getting requests for almost 2 million URLs every week

    You can see the full article here: http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2...ndex+(Ars+Tech
    TSJnachos117
    MyCE Senior Member
    Posted on: 15 Nov 12 01:57
      Boy, I'm so glad governments are trying so hard to censor the internet and erase the criticisms against them, rather than dealing with said criticisms. Otherwise, they might have to deal with the actual problems, which is a huge pain. This way, they can keep doing whatever they want without the people finding out.

      PS: if you didn't realize that was sarcasm, feel free to bonk yourselves on the head.

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