Google's statistics released today on how often governments have asked for information on users or issued take-down requests showed that Google has often ignored Australian government requests.
Google's information and take-down requests (Credit: Google)
Between 1 July and 31 December last year the Australian Government asked for information 155 times, and requested that content be removed 17 times.
According to Google, an example of a request to remove content might be along the lines of a government asking the company to remove a video from YouTube which portrays a national hero in a negative light. Or, a government might request that a content be removed that is critical of a nation's policies or history.
In relation to other countries, today's statistics show that the percentage of times Google had complied with requests from the Australian Government was quite low.
Specifically, Google complied or partially complied with take-down requests 52.9 per cent of the time.
So that would mean that Google dealt with just under nine of Australia's 17 requests. (And I'm definitely wondering how they managed to get a non-whole number.)
In comparison, Google at least partially complied with 80.5 per cent of the US Government's 123 removal requests, 82.5 per cent of Brazil's 291 requests, 76.3 per cent of the UK's 59 removal requests, 94.1 per cent of Germany's 188 removal requests, 66.7 per cent of France's less than 10 removal requests, 77.5 per cent of India's 42 removal requests and 89.1 per cent of South Korea's 64 removal requests.
This led me to wonder: is our government making ridiculous requests for content to be taken down? Most (14) of the removal requests had to do with YouTube. Perhaps they were parodies, or videos which were perceived to be damaging to reputations?
And if we're over the top, Canada is being even more ridiculous, with Google only agreeing to 43.8 per cent of removal requests. Meanwhile, Israel only achieved a 20 per cent take-down rate.
Still, it makes you think. What is the government asking to be taken down? And why?