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Google: government censorship requests jumped 20% in last six months

Google(s goog) has published its latest Transparency Report and the results are not encouraging for free speech advocates: governments around the world are asking it to remove more content than ever before.

In the second half of 2012, the number of government requests to remove content from services like YouTube and Blogger increased from 1,811 to 2,285, and the number of items targeted for censorship increased from 18,070 to 24,179. As this screenshot shows, government requests have been rising steadily for years:

Google transparency screenshot

Many of these requests appear to have come from politicians who invoke defamation laws to remove content that was damaging or embarrassing. In a section of the report that breaks down requests by country, Google notes it received a request to remove a YouTube video that allegedly showed the President of Argentina “in a compromising position.” (Google did not comply with the request but did impose age restrictions on the video.)

Google also noted a spike in requests from Brazil where electoral law permits candidates to ban “offensive” material, and from Russia where a controversial law allows the government to remove content it seems harmful to young people. The company also received requests from multiple countries to censor the “Innocence of Muslims” video.

The content censorship report is part of Google’s ongoing effort to shed light on how governments seek to access its data and suppress content. In the last year, the company has begin issuing the report in two parts — one devoted to content takedown and another dedicated to requests to identify users. Under the content section, Google also shows copyright takedown requests from private companies.

Twitter has recently followed Google’s example by creating transparency reports of its own. Other prominent social media and content providers, including Facebook, have remained largely silent on the issue.

5 Responses to “Google: government censorship requests jumped 20% in last six months”

  1. Mortimer Findlay

    Internet censorship is a very high priority to many governments around the world.

    One has only to look at SOPA to see a blatant attack on our freedoms. Don’t make excuses for these politicians. Governments are desperate to slow (and even stop) the flow of information between citizens – known as “the social media”. They absolutely HATE having light cast upon their dealings.

    Politicians are not stupid. They could continue down the path of selling out to the worlds bankers with MUCH less scrutiny if we lost the social media forum. Their goal is to gain control of the internet (social media) to the same degree as they have the mainstream media.

    If we sit and let politicians chip away at our freedoms, we will be the ultimate losers. They want a gap between THEM and US and they want to control the flow of information between YOU and YOUR friends.

    There are three kinds of people in this world.

    1 – People that MAKE things happen
    2 – People that WATCH things happen
    3 – People that WONDER what happened.

    Scream like hell when your rights are threatened.

  2. 最终冰器红豆

    Really? Its too fast to jump to conclusion. Can it be more people posting disturbing or illegal information onto the web? We just don’t know. But it is against Google’s business interest we can be sure.