A new Transparency Report out from Google shows that world governments increasingly ask the search engine to remove content from the Web and to provide information about users.
This is Google’s sixth transparency report, and the Internet giant says one thing is remarkably clear: Government surveillance is on the rise. The graph below illustrates how government demands for user data have increased steadily since the company first launched the Transparency Report. In the first half of 2012, there were 20,938 inquiries from government entities around the world for information about 34,614 accounts.
Worldwide government requests for the company to remove data from the Internet also rose in 2012. During the first half of the year, there were 1,791 requests from government officials around the world to remove 17,746 pieces of content.
A bulk of the requests came from government entities in the United States.
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.
We received a court order to remove 1,754 posts from Google Groups relating to a case of continuous defamation against a man and his family. We removed 1,664 of the posts, which fell within the scope of the order.
We received three court orders to remove 641 search results for linking to websites that allegedly defame organizations and individuals. We removed 233 of the search results requested, which fell within the scope of the orders.
In response to a court order, we removed 156 search results because the web pages in question used a trademark in violation of an earlier order.
The number of content removal requests we received increased by 46% compared to the previous reporting period.
Government entities in the United States also made 7,969 requests for user data related to information of 16,281 accounts. Google reports that it complied with 90 percent of these requests.
You can view Google’s full Transparency Report here.