Google: More Governments Asking for Removal of User Content
Government requests to censor content that's been posted on Google sites continue to increase, according to Google's latest transparency report.Google's latest transparency report on government censorship requests coming in from around the world related to content on Google Websites shows the rate rising by 26.2 percent by the end of 2012. "From July to December 2012, we received 2,285 government requests to remove 24,179 pieces of content—an increase from the 1,811 requests to remove 18,070 pieces of content that we received during the first half of 2012," wrote Susan Infantino, Google's legal director, in an April 25 post on the Google Public Policy Blog. That's a 26.2 percent increase from the first half of the year to the last half, which continues a rising trend that Google has seen since it began its transparency reports back in 2010. "As we've gathered and released more data over time, it's become increasingly clear that the scope of government attempts to censor content on Google services has grown," wrote Infantino. "In more places than ever, we've been asked by governments to remove political content that people post on our services. In this particular time period, we received court orders in several countries to remove blog posts criticizing government officials or their associates." Among those cases was a request from Argentina to remove a YouTube video that allegedly defames the country's president by depicting her in a compromising position, while in Denmark, Google received a request from local law enforcement to remove two YouTube videos that criticized a foreign ambassador. In the Argentina case, Google "age-restricted the video in accordance with YouTube's Community Guidelines," while in the Denmark case "a legal basis for removal was not provided" and Google allowed the videos to remain.
In another case, Google complied with a court order from Greece and removed a blog post from the blogspot.gr domain that "allegedly defamed a retired military officer accused of business gain through political ties, including ties to a former prime minister of Greece."