Google Transparency Report: Increase in Global Requests

In its seventh Transparency Report, Google notes that the number of government requests to censor online content continues to grow. Additionally, it has received court orders to remove blog posts criticizing government officials. “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,” explains Google.

The Google Blog points out several highlights from the most recent report:

1) “There was a sharp increase in requests from Brazil, where we received 697 requests to remove content from our platforms (of which 640 were court orders — meaning we received an average of 3.5 court orders per day during this time period), up from 191 during the first half of the year.”

2) “Another place where we saw an increase was from Russia, where a new law took effect last fall. In the first half of 2012, we received six requests, the most we had ever received in any given six-month period from Russia. But in the second half of the year, we received 114 requests to remove content—107 of them citing this new law.”

3) “We received inquiries from 20 countries regarding YouTube videos containing clips of the movie ‘Innocence of Muslims.’ While the videos were within our Community Guidelines, we restricted videos from view in several countries in accordance with local law after receiving formal legal complaints. We also temporarily restricted videos from view in Egypt and Libya due to the particularly difficult circumstances there.”

Google notes several improvements to its data collection, and recognizes that its reporting is only a “sliver” of what is happening globally online. “But as we disclose more data and continue to expand it over time, we hope it helps draw attention to the laws around the world that govern the free flow of information online,” indicates the post.

For additional details, the latest Google Transparency Report is now available.