Governments Ramp Up Attempts To Censor Content Via Google

from the up-up-and-away dept

Google's latest "Transparency Report" shows that governments appear to be ramping up their efforts to have Google takedown content.
It probably won't come as much surprise that many of the new requests appear to be political in nature, rather than truly "illegal" content.
  • There was a sharp increase in requests from Brazil, where we received 697 requests to remove content from our platforms (of which 640 were court orders—meaning we received an average of 3.5 court orders per day during this time period), up from 191 during the first half of the year. The big reason for the spike was the municipal elections, which took place last fall. Nearly half of the total requests—316 to be exact—called for the removal of 756 pieces of content related to alleged violations of the Brazilian Electoral Code, which forbids defamation and commentary that offends candidates. We’re appealing many of these cases, on the basis that the content is protected by freedom of expression under the Brazilian Constitution.
  • Another place where we saw an increase was from Russia, where a new law took effect last fall. In the first half of 2012, we received six requests, the most we had ever received in any given six-month period from Russia. But in the second half of the year, we received 114 requests to remove content—107 of them citing this new law.
As you look at some of the other notes on the requests, you see an awful lot of people in power with thin skins, demanding content they don't like be removed because it reflects negatively on them. In most of those cases, thankfully, it appears that Google has refused to take down that content.

Also highlighted quite a bit in the report are requests from various countries -- including officials in the US -- for Google to either review or to takedown the infamous "Innocence of Muslims" video. Google basically tried to follow local laws on those and took it down in some countries, but not others.

It's good to see this kind of transparency, even if it's distressing just how often we see governments trying to censor information.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

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    Ninja (profile), Apr 29th, 2013 @ 9:30am

    To see Brazil using it that much saddens me. The Electoral Law is being blatantly misused and our judges have issues understanding how the intertubes work (shocker!). It gets even sadder when you see the new PEC 33 and 37 (Constitutional Amendment Proposal in English) that meddle directly with the Judicial Power. Our politicians here have no shame anymore. Or rather, politicians everywhere.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 29th, 2013 @ 10:55am

    'it's distressing just how often we see governments trying to censor information.'

    what is just as distressing is when powers are abused in order to get information removed that is legal but not liked. this happens a lot with Google and the US is one of the worst for doing this. it's a shame that Google has become what it has and prefers in a lot of instances to do as it's told rather than what it should!

     

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      Lowestofthekeys (profile), Apr 29th, 2013 @ 11:08am

      Re:

      This is the difficulty of running a business, and it's also their prerogative to do what they can to stay in business, which doesn't make it right, but if there's anything we can learn it's that the people running business will do what it takes to look out for the business and themselves.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Apr 29th, 2013 @ 12:49pm

      Re:

      Citation? If you read TFA, It appears that the numbers from the US weren't that high at all, and Google ignored most of the requests. I know it's cool to hate the US and all, but the facts say something different.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Apr 29th, 2013 @ 4:02pm

        Re: Re:

        IF Google was working with some evil three letter agency I'm pretty sure they'd fudge the numbers.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Apr 29th, 2013 @ 4:30pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          So the fact that there is no proof proves that they are hiding something, because if it was not true, there would be proof?
          I need a tylenol.

           

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  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
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    out_of_the_blue, Apr 29th, 2013 @ 11:02am

    Just Google for "propaganda" and it'll recurse infinitely!

    How Google lost the trust of Europe’s data protection authorities

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/04/29/hawktalk_google_eu_authorities/

    "It is no surprise that Google’s vast personal data collections are acting as a magnet for other forms of surveillance activity. That is why Governments want access to how the public uses the Internet so that law enforcement can obtain IP addresses and details of browsing habits. The collection and subsequent retention of such personal data concerns all users irrespective of whether or not there are grounds for suspicion for its retention."



    Take a loopy tour of Techdirt.com! You always end up same place!
    http://techdirt.com/
    Where Mike's "no evidence of real harm" means he wants to let secretive mega-corporations continue to grow.
    07:01:37[i- 2-1]

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Apr 29th, 2013 @ 11:10am

      Re: Just Google for "propaganda" and it'll recurse infinitely!

      Wow. That's really something.

      I mean, Google can actually recurse infinitely without running out of memory? Their data centre really is impressive.

       

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      Zakida Paul (profile), Apr 29th, 2013 @ 11:14am

      Re: Just Google for "propaganda" and it'll recurse infinitely!

      Funny how you constantly use the services of the company you love to criticise. Hypocrisy much?

       

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      Lowestofthekeys (profile), Apr 29th, 2013 @ 11:15am

      Re: Just Google for "propaganda" and it'll recurse infinitely!

      Blue, do you have an opinion on corporate nationalism?

       

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    Zakida Paul (profile), Apr 29th, 2013 @ 11:16am

    Governments would love to get rid of the tool that gives a voice to the ordinary pleb on the street. This is why they keep bending to the will of the entertainment industries and their censorship requests. It has nothing to do with piracy and everything to do with controlling the flow of information.

     

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    gorehound (profile), Apr 29th, 2013 @ 12:11pm

    Governments hate the Internet which is the greatest tool we Activists have had before.A great tool to reach the Masses and that is exactly what Governments do not want to see.

    Taking away the Internet will not save you from your future Fates !

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 29th, 2013 @ 3:50pm

    Not surprising...

    That I can expect (and receive) more transparency from Google than I can my own government.

     

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    horse with no name, Apr 29th, 2013 @ 10:25pm

    self serving

    A self serving report from Google about why Google shouldn't be subject to the law. It's Google's greed that is most transparent.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 30th, 2013 @ 4:16am

    gee, I wander why the government would want to censor information hahahahahaha........hah

     

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