It's Scary How Rapidly Government Requests For Info And Censorship Are Increasing
from the wake-up-people dept
Google’s latest transparency report is out and the notable bit of info is that governments continue to increase how often they’re seeking info about users. The increase there is a steady growth which is immensely worrisome. There’s also an equally troubling increase in the attempts to censor content via Google, though in that case, it was relatively flat until the first half of this year when it shot way, way up.
We received a request from the office of a local mayor to remove five blogs for criticizing the mayor. We did not remove content in response to this request.
We received a request from legal representatives of a member of the executive branch to remove 10 YouTube videos for alleged defamation. We did not remove content in response to this request.
There are a lot more like that, mostly from countries that have less respect for free speech than the US. However, some of the requests in the US are equally troubling:
We received five requests and one court order to remove seven YouTube videos for criticizing local and state government agencies, law enforcement or public officials. We did not remove content in response to these requests.
This one is concerning. What court ordered a takedown of a YouTube video criticizing local government officials? That seems like it should be public info.
Google also admits to taking down info pursuant to a court order concerning defamatory content, though at least some courts have argued that, thanks to Section 230, sites do not have to remove content, even if it’s judged to be defamatory. Still, it’s reasonable for Google to decide, as a matter of policy, that if a court finds content defamatory, and a proper court order is issued, that it will remove that content.
Interesting information, if still troubling, given the general trends.