Russia leads world in government removal requests to Google, USA on 7th place: Sometimes they target government criticism

Over the past year Google has removed various blog posts, videos and other kinds of content from its platforms due to government requests.

According to Google, between January and June 2019 they were asked to delete a total of 283,013 items.

They received 17.088 government request for removal.

A single government request may specify several items across different Google products and services. We count each individual blog post, video, or other piece of content as a single item“, Google explained in their transparency report.

The data Google has provided shows that the Russian government issued most requests for content removal.

Russia issued 10,965 requests for removal, taking a strong first place in front of Turkey which asked Google for content removal 1001 times.

Third government on the list is India with 917 requests.

United States of America is on seventh place, behind South Korea, Brazil and France. US have issued 445 requests for content removal.

 „Courts and government agencies around the world regularly request that we remove information from Google products. We review these requests closely to determine if content should be removed“, states Google in their report.

As seen in the data Google provided, government agencies mostly want that content should be removed from Youtube (8455) and web search (5865), but significant number of requests targets blogs on Blogger (799 requests).

Usually the reasons for removal are copyright and trademark violations, but the governments from around the world also asked Google to remove content in the name of national security (2925 times).  

Google explains that they receive content removal requests through a variety of avenues and from all levels of government — court orders, written requests from national and local government agencies, and requests from law enforcement professionals.

„Some requests allege defamation, while others claim that content violates local laws prohibiting hate speech or adult content. The laws surrounding these issues vary by country/region. Our teams assign each request a category, such as hate speech, obscenity, and defamation. Often times, government requests target political content and government criticism. Governments cite defamation, privacy, and even copyright laws in their attempts to remove political speech from our services. Our teams evaluate each request and review the content in context in order to determine whether or not content should be removed due to violation of local law or our content policies“, explained Google in their transparency report.

 „We usually rely on courts to decide if a statement is defamatory according to local law. But from time to time, we receive forged court orders. We examine the legitimacy of every document we receive, and if we determine that a court order is false, we won’t comply“, writes Google in their report.

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