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Governments are making more censorship demands on Google

Transparency report shows that requests are on the rise
Fri Apr 26 2013, 13:41
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INTERNET GIANT Google has published its latest transparency report and revealed that governments are making more and more demands of it.

Google publishes its transparency report quarterly. It says it does so to be as open as possible. The reports usually make for chilling reading.

This report is no different, and shows that the numbers of requests to remove or censor content or pass along user data have increased again.

"Three years ago when we launched the Transparency Report, we said we hoped it would shine some light on the scale and scope of government requests for censorship and data around the globe," said Google legal director Susan Infantino in the report's introductory blog post.

"Today, for the seventh time, we're releasing new numbers showing requests from governments to remove content from our services. From July to December 2012, we received 2,285 government requests to remove 24,179 pieces of content-an increase from the 1,811 requests to remove 18,070 pieces of content that we received during the first half of 2012."

According to the post many of the requests are politically specific, and the firm has noticed that this report includes a spike in the number of requests to remove content that is critical of government officials.

"As we've gathered and released more data over time, it's become increasingly clear that the scope of government attempts to censor content on Google services has grown. In more places than ever, we've been asked by governments to remove political content that people post on our services," added Infantino.

"In this particular time period, we received court orders in several countries to remove blog posts criticizing government officials or their associates."

In the UK the firm received one request from an MP to remove a blog post that said he had advised businesses while serving in government. Google said it passed the complaint on to the blogger, who removed it.

It also got two requests from law enforcement agencies to remove Youtube videos that apparently were critical of the police. Google did not remove either of these videos.

Since 2010 the majority of takedown requests received by Google have fallen into the defamation category. Privacy and security concerns have taken second place. µ


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