This week, Google.com has released its latest Transparency Report about government demands to remove web-content between June and December 2013. The report shows world’s governments made about 3,100 requests to remove more than 14,000 pieces of content from Blogger, YouTube channel or search results.
The report also shows that the number of requests has decreased from 3,846 in June 2013 to 3,105 in December 2013. Google explained that this was the result of a sudden increase in requests coming from Turkish government that had to contain a series of civil protests between May and August 2013. Additionally, Google reported that the requests from Russia have also increased by 25 percent.
The majority of removals requested by governments targeted the Blogger platform content (1,066 requests), the search engine (nearly 850 requests) and YouTube site (nearly 800 requests). The most popular reason for removal were defamation (38 percent) nudity and obscenity (16 percent) and privacy or national security (11 percent).
The Google Transparency Report also shows that the removal requests are made by government agencies and police or by court orders. Google complied with nearly 90 percent of governmental requests and 50 percent court-ordered requests.
When asked if the government requests of removing unwanted web content was a form of internet censorship, Trevor Callaghan, Google’s Legal Director, answered:
“Our Transparency Report is certainly not a comprehensive view of censorship online. However, it does provide a lens on the things that governments and courts ask us to remove, underscoring the importance of transparency around the processes governing such requests.”
Google also cites some of the requests and the reasons for complying with them or denying them.
For instance an Australian police officer asked Google to remove two articles about a police shooting a man. Google refused to do so because the articles weren’t offending.
Also, a Brazilian Court requested Google to takedown from search results an article about a police investigation involving a corrupt judge. Google appealed the Superior Court of Justice that ruled the request had no basis. However, when another Brazilian court asked Google to remove 14 blog posts accusing a judge of corruption with no evidence, Google complied with the request.
The report also reveals that the Colombian police requested the removal of several news articles bearing corruption accusations of high-rank police officers. Google refused the removal ‘for reasons of public interest.’
Google also received a request from a CEO of a U.S. credit company that wanted more than 300 search results to vanish because they claimed he was involved in illegal business deals. Google refused to remove them because the court order the CEO invoked was irrelevant for the removal.
Image Source: Screaming Reviews
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