Government requests to remove online material increase at Google

Claire Cain Miller writes: Governments, led by the United States, are increasingly demanding that Google remove information from the Web.

The company received 3,846 such requests to remove 24,737 items in the first half of 2013, an increase of 68 percent over the second half of 2012, according to an update to Google’s transparency report released on Thursday. Google complied with more than a third of all requests.

Often, the requests come from judges, police officers and politicians trying to hide information that is critical of them. The most common request cites defamation, often of officials. Others cite local laws governing religion or hate speech, for instance, as when YouTube received requests to remove the “Innocence of Muslims” video clips.

“Over the past four years, one worrying trend has remained consistent: governments continue to ask us to remove political content,” Susan Infantino, a legal director at Google, wrote in a company blog post. [Continue reading…]

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