Last week, Google said that it noticed a spike in the number of requests from governments throughout the world asking the Internet giant to remove online content in 2013. The company noted that many of the requests were politically motivated.
In updating its 2013 transparency report, Google said that it recorded a 68 percent increase in the number of government requests for information removal.
“Over the past four years, one worrying trend has remained consistent: governments continue to ask us to remove political content,” Google said in a statement accompanying the report. “Judges have asked us to remove information that’s critical of them, police departments want us to take down videos or blogs that shine a light on their conduct, and local institutions like town councils don’t want people to be able to find information about their decision-making processes.”
Increases in requests for information removal were led by government officials in Turkey and Russia. Of the 235 requests to remove content in violation of a Russian Internet restriction law, Google removed 115 items. The company said that it saw a 966 percent increase in information removal requests from Turkey.
From U.S. officials, Google received 70 percent more content removal requests than it did during the second half of 2012.
The company reported:
We received 27 requests from a federal government agency to suspend 89 apps from the Google Play store that allegedly infringed its trademark rights. After reviewing the apps in question with respect to those trademarks, we removed 76 apps.
We received a request from a local law enforcement official to remove a search result linking to a news article about his record as an officer. We did not remove the search result.
We received a court order directed at a third party to remove six search results linking to news articles and to claims on the Ripoff Report website that allegedly defamed a company by suggesting it was involved in illegal activities. We removed the search results linking to the Ripoff Report, but did not remove the news articles.
The number of content removal requests we received increased by 70% compared to the previous reporting period.
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