Google has reported an ‘alarming’ surge in the number of requests made by governments across the world to remove political blog posts and videos from its search results, and hand over information about users.
The firm said it continued to see an increase in requests to take down ‘political speech’, as it released its fifth Transparency Report, covering the last six months of last year.
“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,” Sky News quoted Dorothy Chou, Google''s senior policy analyst, as saying. The US-based Internet search giant said that countries including Germany, Spain, the UK and Canada all asked Google to take down content.
The amount of requests from the US more than doubled compared to the previous half year, it said. The firm added that Ukraine, Jordan and Bolivia showed up for the first time on the list of countries out to have online material removed.
According to the report, the company also stressed that not all requested content is removed. And an appeal from the government of Pakistan to take down six clips that satirised the country''s army and senior politicians was not followed through, Google said. rom the start of July to the end of December, Google''s figures show it complied with an average of 65 percent of 467 court orders, and 47 percent of 561 more informal requests.