Google Concerned Over Rising Government Censorship Requests

June 18th, 2012 at 3:56 pm

Google has reported that it has received over 1,000 requests from governments to remove content from its search results or YouTube videos in the latter half of 2011. They find this trend “alarming.”

In its semi-annual Transparency Report, Google said the requests were directed to remove around 12,000 items, about 25% more compared during the first six months of last year.

But what really surprised the largest search engine company is that some of these requests come from democratic countries that are not typically associated with censorship. In one case, government representatives of Spain asked Google to remove 270 links to blogs and newspaper articles that criticize public figures. And while Google has not compiled to its request, Spain’s highest court asked the European Court of Justice last March to decide on whether requests by citizens to have online content removed were legal.

There were cases wherein Google has no choice but to comply with some countries’ requests since some political speeches in question are unlawful. For instance, the company removes YouTube videos with Nazi references because they are banned in Germany, as well as videos featuring Thailand’s king with a seat over his head due to the country’s strict “lese-majesty” laws.

During the second half of 2011, Google reports that it has complied in about 65 percent of court orders and 47 percent of informal requests to pull out specific online content.

Source: Reuters


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