April 26, 2013

Governments boost efforts to censor postings on Web

MarketWatch

There has been a dramatic rise in the attempts of governments to censor content on the Web, Google said Thursday, saying it has received "more government removal requests than ever before."

Google said it received 2,285 government requests to remove 24,179 pieces of content from July to December 2012.

That's up from 1,811 requests to remove 18,070 pieces of content in the first half of 2012.

"It's become increasingly clear that the scope of government attempts to censor content on Google services has grown," Susan Infantino, Google's legal director, said in a blog post.

"In more places than ever, we've been asked by governments to remove political content that people post on our services."

Google said it received court orders from some countries to take down blog posts that criticized government officials or their associates.

A regional leader in France wanted to remove a blog post "that criticized aspects of his judicial career."

In Denmark, a local law enforcement office pushed for the removal of YouTube videos that criticized a foreign ambassador.

Both requests were denied by Google.

During that period, Google also saw three of its products and services, including YouTube and Picasa Web Albums, disrupted in China.

Google said it also saw sharp increases in censorship requests in Brazil and Russia.

 

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