Google Inc (GOOG) Transparency Report: Govt. Content Removal Requests Up 68%

Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) revealed in its latest transparency report that the number of content removal requests it received from governments worldwide increased by 68%  since the second half of 2012.

The search engine giant received 3,846 government requests to remove 24,737 contents from its services during the first six month of 2013. The increasing number of government takedown requests showed that censorship seems to be one of the primary concerns of Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG).

In a blog post, Google’s Legal Director, Susan Infantino wrote, “Over the past four years, one worrying trend has remained consistent: governments continue to ask us to remove political content. Judges have asked us to remove information that’s critical of them, police departments want us to take down videos or blogs that shine a light on their conduct, and local institutions like town councils don’t want people to be able to find information about their decision-making processes.”

According to her, government officials often mention defamation, privacy, as well as copyright laws as reasons in their attempt to remove political speeches from the services of Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG).

Infantino said, “In this particular reporting period, we received 93 requests to take down government criticism and removed content in response to less than one third of them. Four of the requests were submitted as copyright claims.”

Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) noted that the number of removal requests from Turkish authorities increased significantly to 1,673, which is ten times higher compared with the requests submitted in the second half last year. According to the search engine giant, 1,126 called for the removal of 1,345 articles from Blogger, Google+, and Web Search related to alleged violations of law 5651.
The search engine giant also observed a 125% increase in removal requests from Russia from its previous transparency reporting period.

Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) said the number of removal request from authorities in the United States climbed 70% in. During the period, it received 27 requests from a federal government agency to remove 89 apps from the Google Play store. The agency claimed that the apps violated infringed its trademark rights. The search engine giant removed 76 apps after reviewing the apps in question.

“While the information we present in our Transparency Report is certainly not a comprehensive view of censorship online, it does demonstrate a worrying upward trend in the number of government requests, and underscores the importance of transparency around the processes governing such requests. As we continue to add data, we hope it will become increasingly useful and informative in policy debates and decisions around the world,” according to Infantino.