Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Govt requests to censor content 'alarming': Google

BRUSSELS (REUTERS) - Google has received more than 1,000 requests from authorities to take down content from its search results or YouTube video in the last six months of 2011, the company said on Monday, denouncing what it said was an alarming trend.

In its twice-yearly Transparency Report, the world's largest web search engine said the requests were aimed at having some 12,000 items overall removed, about a quarter more than during the first half of last year.
'Unfortunately, what we've seen over the past couple years has been troubling, and today is no different,' Ms Dorothy Chou, the search engine's senior policy analyst, said in a blogpost.'We hoped this was an aberration. But now we know it's not.' Many of those requests targeted political speech, keeping up a trend Google said it has noticed since it started releasing its Transparency Report in 2010.
'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,' said Ms Chou. In the second half of last year, Google complied with around 65 per cent of court orders and 47 per cent of informal requests to remove content, it said.

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