90 per cent increase in content removal requests from India, says Google

IN Media Freedom | 28/04/2013
What does the seventh Google Transparency Report tell us that we don't already know?

It’s all getting a tad too predictable. Google’s seventh Transparency Report confirms an increase in a now established truth – that governments across the world have stepped up their demands to the search engine to remove content.

The report states that, from the six-month period between July and December 2012, Google 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 it received during the first half of 2012.Google’s compliance depended on community guidelines as well as legal requests in accordance with local laws, its report added.

The search period, which covers the global ferment over the anti-Islamic videos and the Assam riots and, in India, the social media-fuelled panic exodus of people from the north-east from different parts of the country. Brazil and Russia reported a spike in requests in this period.

Governments, the report said, sent in requests to remove political content and court orders accompanied requests from government officials to remove blogs posts.

     Here’s what the report tells us about requests from India:       

“We received inquiries from 20 countries regarding YouTube videos that contain clips of the movie, "Innocence of Muslims": Australia, Bangladesh, Brazil, Brunei, Djibouti, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Iran, Jordan, Lebanon, Maldives, Malaysia, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, and the United States. Australia, Egypt, and the United States requested that we review the videos to determine if they violated our Community Guidelines, which they did not.



The other 17 countries requested that we remove the videos. We restricted videos from view in Indonesia, India, Jordan, Malaysia, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore and Turkey. Due to difficult circumstances, we temporarily restricted videos from view in Egypt and Libya.

During the period of disturbance in the North-East region, we received five requests from the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team to remove content from Google+, a Blogger blog, 64 YouTube videos, and 1759 comments associated with some YouTube videos, that cited laws covering disruption of public order or ethnic offence laws. The Google+ URLs were only links to search results that did not identify specific posts that violated applicable law. In response to these requests, we removed one video for violating our YouTube Community Guidelines.

We also restricted 47 YouTube Videos from local view, in addition to removing 12 YouTube comments and disabling local access to 3 Blogger blog posts that violated local laws.

We received a court order addressed to a third party to remove 247 search results for linking to websites that allegedly violated an individual's privacy. We did not remove the search results because we were unable to determine their relationship to the court order. We requested clarification but did not receive a reply.

We received a request from a city Cyber Crime Investigation Cell to remove current depictions of disputed borders of Jammu and Kashmir in five Google Maps domains other than maps.google.co.in. We did not change our depiction of the borders in response to this request.

The number of content removal requests we received increased by 90% compared to the previous reporting period.

The report has made the section on Traffic disruptions easier to navigate, giving details of the disruptions since 2009.

Besides, there is information on the worldwide trends in censorship and take down requests. For instance, this was the first time Google began getting content removal requests from a number of countries, including Bangladesh, Chile, Egypt, Iran,Kenya, Luxembourg, Maldives , Nepal, Palestinian TerritoriesUnited Arab Emirates or Venezuela.


The complete report can be accessed here


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