While catching up with my RSS feeds, I saw the latest Google Transparency Report from the end of last month. The summary of the report basically says that the number of governmental requests to remove content from Google is raising quite rapidly.
There are also some clarifications of why that might be:
- There was a sharp increase in requests from Brazil, where we received 697 requests to remove content from our platforms (of which 640 were court orders—meaning we received an average of 3.5 court orders per day during this time period), up from 191 during the first half of the year. The big reason for the spike was the municipal elections, which took place last fall. Nearly half of the total requests—316 to be exact—called for the removal of 756 pieces of content related to alleged violations of the Brazilian Electoral Code, which forbids defamation and commentary that offends candidates. We’re appealing many of these cases, on the basis that the content is protected by freedom of expression under the Brazilian Constitution.
- Another place where we saw an increase was from Russia, where a new law took effect last fall. In the first half of 2012, we received six requests, the most we had ever received in any given six-month period from Russia. But in the second half of the year, we received 114 requests to remove content—107 of them citing this new law.
- During this period, we received inquiries from 20 countries regarding YouTube videos containing clips of the movie “Innocence of Muslims.” While the videos were within our Community Guidelines, we restricted videos from view in several countries in accordance with local law after receiving formal legal complaints. We also temporarily restricted videos from view in Egypt and Libya due to the particularly difficult circumstances there.
One thing that I am missing is a correlation to the actual size of the Google index. I mean, I of course understand that it is incomparably larger than all these requests combined, but I keep thinking that the more content you’ll index, the more removal requests you’ll get. So, I think, it would be interesting to see the correlation in growth of removal requests to the growth of the Google’s global index.