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.