Google reports increase in internet censorship requests by governments


Google’s latest Transparency Report has detailed the number of takedown requests received by the company from governments around the world and the figures are showing an overall increase in the number of requests received.

The stats released by Google are for the period covering July to December 2011. The United States is leading the charge in requesting user data from Google, with 6,321 requests for user data being filed by the government during the listed six-month period. By comparison, the US filed 4,601 requests for the same period in 2010. The increase reflects a trend across most governments listed, with only a few requesting less data than previously.

Google has said in the report that the increase in requests for data from the US isn’t surprising, “…since each year we offer more products and services, and we have a larger number of users.”

However a post by senior policy analyst Dorothy Chou on the official Google blog today does have some disturbing information, though it appears unrelated to the US government.

“This is the fifth data set that we’ve released. And just like every other time before, we’ve been asked to take down political speech. It’s alarming not only because free expression is at risk, but because some of these requests come from countries you might not suspect—Western democracies not typically associated with censorship. ”

The post goes on to list Spain and Poland as examples of countries that have requested the censorship of political speech, with Chou saying that these requests were denied.

Source: AllThingsD and Google blog


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