The request from governments across the globe to remove content from the web seems to be on an increase, and India is catching up.
The number of Content removal requests from the Government of India received by Google has increased by 49 per cent compared to the previous reporting period. On an overall basis, Google received close to 1,000 requests from governments around the globe to remove content from its platforms like YouTube videos, web search and blogs.
These details were part of the fifth Google Transparency Report. Released today it gave details for the period July to December 2011. Google has been steadily adding features, like graphs showing traffic patterns and disruptions to Google services from different countries. Just a couple weeks ago, it launched a new section showing the requests they get from copyright holders to remove search results.
“Unfortunately, what we’ve seen over the past couple years has been troubling, and today is no different. We noticed that government agencies from different countries would sometimes ask us to remove political content that our users had posted on our services. We hoped this was an aberration. But now we know it’s not. 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,” said Dorothy Chou, senior policy analyst at Google on the official Google blog.
Most of the content removal requests from India were related to defamation, national security and religious offence. Google received only one request from Indian agencies from July to December 2011 for removal of porn content.