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Google Reveals 70% Increase In Requests For Content Removal; Including Law Enforcement Wanting To Hide Police Brutality

from the censorship-by-any-other-name dept

Google has released its latest “transparency report” which seeks to reveal aggregate data on requests for user information and content takedowns from around the world. Much of the press coverage focuses on the fact that requests on user info was up 29% from January 1, 2011 to June 30, 2011, compared to the previous segment of data (July 1 through December 31, 2010). But even more interesting is the fact that the number of “content removal requests” jumped up by 70%. It appears lots of folks would like to censor Google. And, some of those attempts seem really questionable:

We received a request from a local law enforcement agency to remove YouTube videos of police brutality, which we did not remove. Separately, we received requests from a different local law enforcement agency for removal of videos allegedly defaming law enforcement officials. We did not comply with those requests, which we have categorized in this Report as defamation requests.

It’s good to see that Google did not roll over for such requests, though it really feels like when law enforcement seeks to censor content that is embarrassing to them, that kind of info should be made public explicitly. Otherwise, there’s no incentive for law enforcement officials to stop asking.

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Companies: google

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Comments on “Google Reveals 70% Increase In Requests For Content Removal; Including Law Enforcement Wanting To Hide Police Brutality”

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67 Comments
Chronno S. Trigger (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Don’t you yell at us for blindly following what TechDirt says? Try looking at some of the sites that you claim are pirate sites.

Here, I’ll make it easy. None of the sites on that list are illegal (OK maybe ISOhunt.us and BGtorrents.net for being click scams). Most aren’t even tools can can be used for illegal actions.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Heh… I didn’t even bother clicking on that link originally, assuming it was idiocy. So, I took a quick scan:

Looks to be a collection of legal sites and programs with some vague relation to the idea that they *could* be used to pirate, although several of them only supply information on how to use P2P programs and don’t host any files themselves.

At least 2 of the links don’t work despite the article having been posted less than 72 hours ago. At least 2 are collating information about other sites, while another (p2p.com) spends more time discussing p2p lending than anything remotely pirate related (though admittedly it does look like an ad farm).

Two links are file lockers that states explicitly in their T&Cs that they shouldn’t be used to share copyrighted files. One site (uploadmusic.org) looks to be an ad wrapped skin for Google itself (i.e. all it does is search Google). One is a beginner’s guide on how to torrent that states explicitly to be careful about copyrights.

So, yeah, the usual idiocy. This is really the best they’ve got?

abc gum says:

Re: Re:

It has become more than obvious to even the casual observer that the campaign against piracy is about censorship and not about saving the artists or even your precious content industry. So give it up already. The sickening diatribe does you a disservice.

The mindset which attempts censorship is quite amazing. For some reason these people think it is ok to abuse the general public if only no one were to find out about it. They must have some idea that what they do is wrong, otherwise why try to cover it up? This is an area ripe for psychoanalytical research. Also, what are they afraid of? They can just have the police beat the crap out of anyone who objects.

out_of_the_blue says:

Re: Re: @"abc gum": "The mindset which attempts censorship is quite amazing."

Yes, it is, often hiding behind a facade of doing good — or at least “don’t be evil”.

Here’s a take on “Google muzzles political dissidents with YouTube ID tweaks”:
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/07/14/google_profiles_youtube_verification_id/

Of course, we’ve ONLY Google’s statements for how often these requests occur, or how deeply they’re involved in state surveillance. I hope you’re not such a sap as to just simply trust Google based on the image it fosters, when its capability to harm free society is so large. — Suspect cahootery everywhere these days, and you’ll seldom be wrong.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: @"abc gum": "The mindset which attempts censorship is quite amazing."

“Suspect cahootery everywhere these days, and you’ll seldom be wrong.”

Unless it’s Universal, or the RIAA, or the MPAA, or the newspaper guild, or some patent troll, or some other IP maximists. Then their efforts ought to be defended, right?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: @"abc gum": "The mindset which attempts censorship is quite amazing."

OH no a company being evil…


The point is being upset with our government being evil. Companies are expected to be evil.
Governments are expected to protect us and do their best to let culture and quality of life to flourish.

We have an example above of Google showing how they fight back in some small way to protect us… SOMETHING THE GOVERNMENT SHOULD BE DOING. Not a benevolent corporation that cares more about bottom lines and profits!

Mike gives us a story of man bites dog,
you all give us dog bites man.

In case you were somehow so mentally deficient to not understand why everyone on here thinks you people are idiots!

AJ (profile) says:

Re: Re:

We all know your an idiot. There really is no need for you to confirm this on EVERY single story.

Just because Google does business with someone, doesn’t mean they support that someones position.

Using your logic….

Google sells ad-words that include the term Nazi, therefor, Google makes money from the persecution of Jews!

/sarc

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Google still removed a lot it seems

Also if you take a look at the data, the number of requests were higher for the periods ending December 2009 (123) and June 2010 (128) and then went down for the period ending December 2010 (54). So in some ways Mike should be reporting how the number of requests are going down.

Anonymous Coward says:

Critical reading skills required to avoid falling into a trap here.

Removal requests are up 70%.

They received ” a request from a local law enforcement agency” – suggests a single request.

“we received requests from a different local law enforcement agency ” – this suggests multiple requests from a single law enforcement agency.

other than that, it seems that all the other requests were reasonable. It seems a bit misleading to focus on a couple of very isolated cases, and ignore the reality that copyright holders (and others) are speaking up.

It should also be noted that Google improved their online tools to request removals, making it easier to file such a request. It would probably be much more interesting to look at the volume of requests received by source, to see if this is the reason there is a sudden spike.

AJ (profile) says:

Re: Re:

“It should also be noted that Google improved their online tools to request removals, making it easier to file such a request. It would probably be much more interesting to look at the volume of requests received by source, to see if this is the reason there is a sudden spike.”

It would also be interesting to watch the rate of abuse in conjunction with making it easier to file a removal request.

One would imagine, you would see more of this….

http://www.justinbieberzone.com/2011/08/all-justin-bieber-music-videos-removed-and-deleted-from-youtube/

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

It isn’t a question of okay or not okay, it is just applying context. Mike is playing the game of “requests are up 70%” and putting it right next to a couple of exceptional cases, hoping that people get outraged thinking the increase is specifically in these cases.

It is misleading, don’t you think?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

What “theory”? I am only pointing out that Mike headlined a 70% increase, and then using small exceptional cases as the examples. It would seem that the two are not directly related, and rather the examples are put out there to create the impression that there has been a 70% increase caused by police requests for takedowns, which is just not true.

I don’t have a “theory”, I am only commenting on the post.

out_of_the_blue says:

Where's evidence that Google is telling the truth?

Just this week, wasn’t it, Mike had a piece that gov’t is going to LIE on FOIA requests. Show me ANY bit of pressure (as in laws that might result in a punishment) on Google that would even tend to force it to be honest. If there’s no such pressure, then it’s at best random as to what Google sees as in its interest to put out.

You’re all falling for the TRICK of assuming that “Google did not roll over for such requests”, when you’ve NO evidence this isn’t just PR. There’s NO independent audit of Google that justifies your faith in them.

But hey, I ran across this site that’s at least skeptical:
http://insidegoogle.com/

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Where's evidence that Google is telling the truth?

“Show me ANY bit of pressure (as in laws that might result in a punishment) on Google that would even tend to force it to be honest.”

We already have anti-fraud laws that corporations must follow, so what are you crying about? Google must follow the same laws that just about every other company needs to follow. If you have a problem with those laws, then that problem isn’t with Google, it’s with the laws that apply to everyone.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Where's evidence that Google is telling the truth?

“You’re all falling for the TRICK of assuming that “Google did not roll over for such requests””

It’s very possible that Google may have secretly rolled over for some requests. But that misses some important points.

A: They ought to be commended to the extent that they didn’t roll over to requests. Google does have footage of law enforcement brutality, so at least that is consistent with (though perhaps doesn’t absolutely prove) the idea that they did not roll over to (all) requests.

B: Law enforcement (at least allegedly) did make requests and they should be criticized for that, and Google did not roll over to all of their requests. Thought it might be nice if Google would disclose exactly who made these requests and what videos were requests to be removed, but our broken legal system could potentially get them in trouble. Unfortunately, the DOJ and the FBI and all of the other federal agencies won’t be trying to subpoena this information from Google in order to investigate these police departments, they’re too busy doing more important things, like going after those blasted content pirates.

C: If Google did take down such videos, chances are they will shortly be found on some other website and the poster will proclaim that Goolge removed the video. It would then likely make it on Techdirt and on every other blog that Google is censoring such videos at the request of law enforcement.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Where's evidence that Google is telling the truth?

and why do you have such a vendetta against Google. Why can you never give them the benefit of the doubt, despite the fact that they have a history of being honest, yet you almost always give IP maximists the benefit of the doubt, despite their insanely dishonest and selfish history?

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re: Where's evidence that Google is telling the truth?

To be fair, I don’t think blue has ever said much of anything positive about the IP industries, or tended toward giving them the benefit of the doubt. He seems to lump them, Google, Microsoft, Apple, etc. all in as big corporations that always lie and are out to get us all. Which characterization has some element of truth to it.

Thomas (profile) says:

Interesting way..

for cops to hid police brutality – take down the content. The feeling seems to be that they can avoid another Rodney King incident by simply arresting anyone videotaping them.

It’s funny that cops say “if you don’t have anything to hide you shouldn’t worry”, but when it is the other way around…

Wouldn’t it be more to the point of responsible policing to make sure the police don’t use excessive force? Even on “Cops” we see people being taken down with way excessive force.

Americans are in far more danger from the police here than they are in danger from all the terrorists in the world.

The Skeptical Cynic says:

Requests for content removal AND MORE

@Thomas:

“…Americans are in far more danger from the police here than they are in danger from all the terrorists in the world…”

How right you are! I can’t imagine any parent telling her/his offspring,
“The policeman is your friend.”
As a child(long,long ago)I was warned,
“If you misbehave, the boogieman is gonna getcha.”

Today’s parents warn their offspring,
“You be careful out there, if you misbehave the cops are going to beat your head, legs,and torso
making you look look one mega ecchimosis, blind you with pepper spray,
and “taze” you into incoherency and incontinencey.”
That’s if you’re white!
If you’re a Black or Brown parent, its
“Just be careful out there, some mo’fo cop gona cap yo’ ass, an’ that just be fo’ nuthin.
Be doin’ somethin’ he doan like an’ 5 to 10 cops gonna fill yo’all so full o’lead, you could sink through iron.

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