King of takedown requests? Google says the U.S. government

King of takedown requests? Google says the U.S. government

Summary: The U.S. government leads the way in Google content removal requests, according to the search giant following the report of its bi-annual Transparency Report.

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Google's latest report on transparency shows an "alarming" and "troubling" rise in takedown notices and user data requests from governments around the world.

New Google data shows the U.S. government has more than doubled its requests for search results, YouTube videos and content takedowns during the last six months of 2011.

Google said it received 187 content removal requests for the removal of just shy of 6,200 items. The search giant complied with 42 percent of those requests --- a figure totalling more than any other country.

As sister site CNET notes, countries like China and Iran block content without notifying Google, making the comparing of numbers difficult.

During the same time period, the number of requests made by the U.S. government to access private user data grew by 37 percent from 5,950 from the same period in 2010.

Google complied this time around --- including partial compliance --- 93 percent of the time.

"It's alarming not only because free expression is at risk, but because some of these requests come from countries you might not suspect - Western democracies not typically associated with censorship," said Dorothy Chou, Google's senior policy analyst.

She noted how Spanish regulators asked Google to remove 270 search results that linked to blogs and articles in which public figures were criticised.

Also noted was the Polish Agency for Enterprise Development who asked Google to remove search results to a site that was also critical.

"We didn't comply with either of these requests."

Image credit: Google.

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Topics: Google, Browser

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31 comments
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  • Can we disagregate that data?

    The "US Government" is a bit of a misnomer. Federal, state, local agencies are aggregated into this total. Can we get a breakdown by agency and more details on the requests? Only a handful of request details were provided. The few specific details seemed to be the more sensationalized. How about some take down notices for "Lady Chatterlys Lover" or "evolution" or, in the case of Michigan Government - vaginas.
    Your Non Advocate
    • Too many people cry we "are not free"

      while ignoring the fact that we are more then happy to sue each for millions other at the drop of a hat, for the most stupid things.

      The report stated [i]Google also said it complied with 42 percent of U.S. requests for the removal of 187 pieces of content, most of which were related to harassment.[/i]

      So where is this lack of freedom the crazies keep pointing out that "see we're not free, I told you so, we're government tools!!".

      Oh, I see, you want the freedom to harass or libel anyone.
      William Farrel
  • Is it not obvious?

    Is anyone still under the false illusion that we're a free country?
    MC1171611
    • Free Country

      We still are a free country. Free to do what we are told, or else...
      trust2112
    • Start with the DMCA

      Home of the brave, not the land of the free.
      DonRupertBitByte
    • I guess you didn't read the article

      [i]Google also said it complied with 42 percent of U.S. requests for the removal of 187 pieces of content, [b]most of which were related to harassment.[/b][/i]

      Is [b]that[/b] the kind of freedom you're looking for, you want the freedom to harrass and bully anyone? That freedom the governmant "is taking away".

      Unless it happens to you, of course.
      William Farrel
    • you are free

      As long as you have the ability to vote for your leadership, you are free. Time to start voting more wisely.
      gdstark13
  • The US must have a LOT to hide

    We really need to roll back the powers we gave to the government in the wake of 9/11. Honestly, today I'm more afraid of my government than of Al Quaida.
    akaltman
    • With good reason

      More Americans die of bee stings than Al Queda. The 2012 NDAA authorizes arrest & detention without warrant or trial of American citizens signed by Pres O.. Both parties believe they can invalidate the Constitution (4th Ammendment) without the hassle of constitutional ammendment. Only 7 Senators voted against it (93 for). We're sunk.
      willdy
      • RE With good reason

        Yeah, and the strange thing is most of the people who freaked out over The Patriot Act don't seem to have a problem with the NDAA. I'm not criticizing them for not liking The Patriot Act because I have a real problem with it as well. I don't understand why the NDAA would be OK just because it is an Obama thing. They are pretty much saying they have the power to come to your house and take you away with a bag over your head with handcuffs and shackles. And never give you a lawyer, court date and make it so your family or anyone else never see's you again. But don't worry even though we really can do that, you can trust us because we won't. So that one silly little document called "The Bill Of Rights" Well it is now nullified forever. But don't worry we're keeping you safe from those mean old terrorists.

        So now whoever wants to tell me to go get my tinfoil hat and put it on. You need to stop listening to what they tell you and actually think for yourself and actually look into it. More and more of the things that people have been making fun of the conspiracy theorists for saying is coming to fruition just one thing after another. Well if I were up to no good and didn't want everybody to know I would portray the people who talked about it as nutjobs. And that's exactly what they're doing. Watch this Here are some mainstream people talking http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qW5Jv-TRXh0
        j-mccurdy
  • You are controlled.

    It's a big cage, but it's a cage nonetheless, and getting smaller all the time.
    Naryan
  • PC

    The quest to be "politically correct" has been pushing us further and further away from freedom.

    The majority of these requests are probably to remove completely legal content that someone finds "offensive". Politicians - in their perpetual battle to stay in office - cave in to these demands in exchange for votes, money, or both.

    Sure, some content online offends me, but I don't ask that the content be taken down. I just don't visit those sites.
    WozNotWoz
  • More action of non action is needed...

    Perhaps the Starbucks nation should stop sipping and start seething. Peoples of the world who are awake and protesting realize they are no different that the other animals in a zoo free to amuse at the keepers content. Cross him and he will take various punitive measures.

    Also I would like to know in which democracy any level of government asks for and actually follows the citizen???s advice. I am just asking for one nation of significant influence.

    Thirdly people can easily protest by actually striking. Do not use these services, do not go to work. Just like we all turn off the lights for one day ???to save the planet??? we can all stay home to do the same. This was essentially the approach of Jesus and Gandhi and other agents of change.
    mario16
    • vote

      Fortunately there's no need to resort to extreme measures yet. All people need to do is start voting more wisely. The MAJORITY of people actually wanted Obama. And remember Bush Jr? They voted him into office not once, but twice! I'm thankful that the only real problem with the US is a lack of intelligence in the voters. I'll take that over tanks in the streets like in Syria and such.
      gdstark13
      • vote = nix

        The majority voters did not vote GWB back into office! The evil villians in Florida and the US Supreme court waved their power and "placed" him back into office. Obama may have been overwhelmingly supported in 2009, but go ask that same majority and most will tell you they are totally disappointed and LIED to! Voting for Congress and POTUS is not by majority... it is a funded evil axis of money, deceit, propaganda and lies! Do you honestly still think your vote counts? It's time to rise!
        SpankyFrost
      • RE: vote = nix

        Clearly you are right...many people are disappointed with Obama. But that doesn't mean their vote didn't count. The votes were counted. It means people voted for the wrong person. And yes, my vote counts. If you don't think so, don't vote. It makes my vote all the more valuable. btw, I haven't voted for a Republican or a Democrat in over 20 years. I believe that the most important vote I can make is in opposition to this two-party system.
        gdstark13
      • RE, Vote

        It's not that simple. The Democrats and Republicans are totally in cahoots and whichever one you pick you're going to get more of the same. These parties are both in control of the mainstream media, and so virtually any 3rd party candidates are portrayed as completely non credible. And they even like to portray them as crazy or even racist. This is why 3rd party candidates will never be given a fair chance. First they will be ignored and if that doesn't work and they start gaining momentum, then they will be slandered and attacked by all the mainstream media. We would need to elect a fairly large number of them in order for them to gain any power. And the two party's are doing a good job of preventing that. So for now we are stuck with this two party system. I do my part and vote 3rd party whenever I can but there is just not enough of us. There are way more sheeple out there than independent thinkers, and this is by design. Oh yeah they also like to use the "Don't waste your vote" angle.
        j-mccurdy
      • RE: RE, Vote

        j-mccurdy, those are exactly my reasons for avoiding the two parties.

        > These parties are both in control of the mainstream media

        On this point I disagree. In the bad old days the mainstream media was ABC, NBC, and CBS. If Cronkite didn't mention your candidate, he didn't exist. But now the media is more splintered than ever. And the internet is helping to bring down tightly controlled dictatorships all across the globe. So I see signs of hope. I see less control of the media than in the past and that's a really good thing. Now the people just need to take advantage of all these new choices.
        gdstark13
      • no

        democracy is a sham.
        Scarface Claw
      • RE: no

        You're right. Please don't bother to vote.
        gdstark13