Google: U.S. government censorship, private user data requests on the rise
June 18, 2012 - 3:24 pm | Category: Tech
Google’s new Transparency Report shows a significant uptick in government censorship attempts and requests for users’ private data in 2011.
Government censorship of the Web, including attempts from Western democracies to silent political speech, rose significantly during the second half of 2011, according to the most recent data released by Google. Of the 1007 requests from governments around the world to take down content, including YouTube videos and search results, Google complied with more than half of them.
Google has also seen a jump in government requests for users’ private data, with the U.S. government issuing more than 6,000 such requests.
News of a spike in censorship and user data requests from governments around the world comes with the release of the biannual Google Transparency Report, first launched in 2010, which Google posted online late Sunday night.
The reasons for, and nature of, the censorship request vary widely: defamation, hate speech, pornography, privacy and security, national security, impersonation, electoral law, copyright infringement, and that forever-vauge category “other.”
During the second half of last year (July through December), U.S. government agencies issued a total of 187 requests for the removal of 6,192 individual items. Of those, 117 were formal requests, while the remaining 70 requests came in an informal manner (such as a phone call). Google says that it complied with 40 percent of the formal take-down requests, and 44 percent of the informal ones.
Only Brazil issued more individual requests than the the U.S., but sought the take-down of a fraction of the content compared to the U.S. government.Article Source