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Friday, April 26, 2013

Google getting more and more requests to remove content

Posted by David Bernstein

 As you may or may not know, some countries don’t have the same freedom of speech that others do and don’t like people posting negative comments about leaders and politicians on things like websites and blogs. And when it comes to sharing information, Google is one of the kings of the practice.

Google has released some numbers on how many requests it gets from other businesses and government agencies requesting that certain content be removed from its sites and databases. In the second half of 2012 they have received 2,285 requests from government agencies to remove items such as blog posts, videos and links to Google+ content which is up 25% from the first half of 2012. And Brazil for example sends an average of 3 requests a day to Google to have content removed from one place or another.

Some of the requests are on the strange side such as British police asking for a picture of an officer in a racist uniform and India asking for a map to be removed that showed a disputed border in Kashmir. One of the most famous incidents is when several countries asked Google to remove the Innocence of Muslims video that led to deadly protests in some countries. Google removed it from some countries because it broke national laws or resulted in violent riots.

On the other hand Google will remove content that is proven to be illegal or is a threat to national security. Google started releasing what it calls semi-annual transparency reports 3 years ago with the intent is to "shine some light on the scale and scope of government requests for censorship and data around the globe."

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