Google: Content Removal Requests From Governments Touch Record High

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Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) released its latest Transparency Report which shows a consistent rise in government requests for its users’ private data. The search engine giant publishes the Transparency Report to reveal how frequently governments request checks on users’ private data and the removal of content. Brazil made the most censorship requests, a total of 697, followed by the United States, which made 321 such requests in the second half of 2012. The report shows that even democracies don’t respect transparency.

In the first half of 2012, the Mountain View, California-based company received 1,811 requests from governments to censor 18,070 pieces of content. But in the second half of 2012, there were 2,285 requests to censor 24,179 pieces of content. That’s a 26.17 percent rise in the number of government requests and a 33.81 percent increase in the pieces of content removed.


In its report, Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) also noted three crucial occurrences in the second half of last year.

– There was a sudden increase in the number of requests from Brazil. Of 697 requests it received from Brazil, 640 were court orders. The company had received just 191 requests in total in the first half of the same year. The biggest reason for the sudden spike was an anti-negative campaigning law. The law resulted into 316 requests to remove 756 pieces of content due to their alleged violation of the country’s Electoral Code. Brazil blocks any election campaign that affects the “dignity” of a candidate. There were municipal elections last fall. A Brazilian court ordered the arrest of Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG)’s Brazilian operations chief and asked to shut down all products of Google Inc. unless a YouTube video attacking a candidate was removed, reports TechCrunch.

– Russia was another trouble area, due to a new law enforced last fall. The law is aimed at blocking objectionable content on the Web. In the first half, Google Inc. had received only six requests from the country. But the number of requests grew to 114 in the second half, of which 107 cited the new law.

– During the second half of 2012, the company received requests from 20 countries to restrict YouTube videos that contained clips of the controversial movie “Innocence of Muslims.” Though the videos were within the guidelines of YouTube, Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) had to remove them in several countries to comply with local law.

However, Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) complied with just 45 percent of the total requests, and then mostly because they had violated Google’s Terms of Service.

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