Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) is overwhelmed by the increased demands made by world governments regarding internet censorship.
Just last Sunday, the search engine giant released a summary of government requests from the last six months, most of which were from China. Since Google is the primary source of internet content in most countries, it seems to be the top target for governments that want to block certain parts of the internet. While most of the requests are simply attempts to halt hate speech and to prevent intrusion of personal privacy, some of the requests were designed to block opinions or thoughts that might sway the minds of the people.
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Google Inc’s senior policy analyst Dorothy Chou claimed, “It’s alarming not only because free expression is at risk, but because some of these requests come from countries you might not suspect – Western democracies not typically associated with censorship.”
Government officials and courts in the United States have made 187 requests to remove content from July through December of 2011. Brazil’s government officials requested 194 take-downs last year(down from the much higher number of 224 requests during the earlier part of the year). What’s interesting about these numbers is that despite the fact that Brazil had overall more requests than the United States, they had a more narrow range of content. Brazil’s content covered 554 different items whereas the United States covered almost 6,200 items. One example is of a request made from a law enforcement agency in the United States, they asked YouTube to remove 1,400 on YouTube videos for negative content. Google denied their request.
This is a tough predicament for Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG). On one hand, they want to expand their company and increase their revenue but it’s not fair to assume that every country shares the same standards. It gets even trickier on the homefront when the United States has their own laws and rules that must be followed.