On Tuesday, Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) released a Transparency Report, and in it, the search giant shares information on the increase of government requests on users and content removal.
The new report spanned from January 2012 to June 2012. It’s also been noted that the request for content removal spiked during the first half of the year. The number of requests made for Google by governments from all over the world to hand over user information increased from 18,257 (2011) to 20,938 (2012). The requests have slowly been rising since 2009, when the Google Transparency reports first launched. The rate for content take down requests increased from 1,048 to 1,791. Although take down requests decreased in 2010 and 2011, the request report shot up this year.
The most common reasons for page take down requests include defamation, security, privacy, and government criticism.
Google was kind enough to share some of the highlights of their removal requests, which included a video on YouTube in Australia, which included threats against a few government officials. Unfortunately, Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) didn’t grant that particular request. There was another request from Russia, which asked Google to remove 160 videos on YouTube, but the search engine only complied partially by blocking access to the videos in Russia.
Dorothy Chou, from Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG), recently elaborated the following in a blog post, “The information we disclose is only an isolated sliver showing how governments interact with the Internet, since for the most part we don’t know what requests are made of other technology or telecommunications companies. But we’re heartened that in the past year, more companies like Dropbox, LinkedIn, Sonic.net, and Twitter have begun to share their statistics too. Our hope is that over time, more data will bolster public debate about how we can best keep the Internet free and open.”
It’s really no surprise that governments throughout the world are censoring parts of the Internet. Hopefully, Google’s transparency report can teach current and future web developers a thing or two to prevent future content removals.