Google: More Governments Requesting Content Removal

From January to June, government requests to block or remove Google content rose 71 percent over the previous reporting period, the company reports.

Governments are making more requests to remove content and block search results, according to Google's latest Transparency Report. Internationally, such requests rose 71 percent in the first half of 2012, as compared with the previous reporting period. Governments typically request content to be removed from the world's largest search engine because the information is related to allegations of defamation, hate speech, pornography or copyright infringement. Defamation is the most common reason for a government to request content removal.

The United States made 273 requests between January and June 2012, which is 46 percent more than the previous reporting period. About 45 percent of U.S. requests were fulfilled by Google. Several requests were to remove YouTube videos that criticized government agencies or officials. Google did not remove any of those videos.

Many other countries also saw large increases in requests for content removal: The United Kingdom submitted 98 percent more requests than the previous reporting period; Germany submitted 140 percent more; and France submitted 132 percent more. Turkey submitted more than 1000 percent more requests, most of which were requests to remove YouTube videos and blogs criticizing the government. Google did not remove any content in response to Turkey's requests, but they did block Turkish users from accessing 63 percent of the YouTube videos in question.