In a new Transparency Report issued by Google, the company has analyzed the takedown requests—for everything from search results to YouTube videos—issued to it from around the world. It turns out that such demands are on the rise, with requests from the US courts and government doubling in the last twelve months, from 92 in a six-month period to 187.
In a blog post explaining the report, Google states that it complies with "an average of 65 percent of court orders, as opposed to 47 percent of more informal requests" to remove material from its search results. The post goes on to explain that Google believes the trend is a troubling one:
"This is the fifth data set that we've released. And just like every other time before, we've been asked to take down political speech. It's alarming not only because free expression is at risk, but because some of these requests come from countries you might not suspect-Western democracies not typically associated with censorship."
It's heartening to read, then, that Google doesn't blindly comply with each and every request it receives. It might be difficult to keep the web a truly open forum—but at least Google is trying its best. [Google via GigaOm]
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