Google has released its latest Transparency Report and the results are rather worrying to say the least.
Google has reported that they've received 49% more content removal requests than it did the last reporting period.
The Transparency Report shows how many times governments have asked for content removal such as blog posts. Many of the key censorship players are still high on the list, which is to be expected in undemocratic countries. The Transparency Report shows that India tops the list of censorship loving countries with 246 requests for content removal.
However, America issued 70 requests, Brazil asked for 66 removals and you can contrast that with a place like Pakistan that only asked for two removals, one of which was for a group of six YouTube videos.
Most of India's requests were due to religious offense, defamation claims and what they claimed were national security issues.
According to one news story:
The trend in the Google Transparency Reports suggest that governments across the world are trying to stifle free speech.
"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," Dorothy Chou, senior policy analyst at Google said on the official Google blog.
And not even fun-loving Canada can escape the attempted censorship party:
In Canada, Google received a request from the Passport Canada office to remove a YouTube video of a Canadian citizen urinating on his passport and flushing it down the toilet. It also received a request from a Canadian politician to remove a blog criticizing his policies. Google refused to comply with both because they “did not violet our policies.”
Why the Canadian government would request the removal of a YouTube video like that is beyond me. Have we all become such whiners that everything which offends us in the least possible way has to be removed from our sight?
According to the same article:
Countries that have been infamous for censoring content, such as China, have continued to put their requests forward with Google. Google received three requests to remove a total of 121 items between January and June 2011. Google removed ads that violated its policies but did not comply otherwise.
The data from China has been particularly opaque, even in Google’s transparency report, for during the period that Google’s joint venture operated the Chinese version of Google, google.cn, its search results were subject to censorship pursuant to requests from government agencies responsible for Internet censorship. With Google citing censorship demands in China to be state secrets, it did not disclose any information for the two reporting periods from July 2009 to June 2010.
Up to this day, China still blocks YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook from its residents.
I don't know about you, but it makes my blood boil when governments try to censor free speech and/or try to regulate the Internet to suit their purposes.
Governments...keep your bloody hands off the Internet!
I do not want to live in a place like China that censors practically everything their citizens are allowed to see. I don't want articles or videos censored that might cause offense to the religious or irreligious. I don't want my government trying to censor something as stupid as pissing on a passport.
"There has been an alarming rise in the number of times governments attempted to censor the internet in last six months, according to a report from Google. Since the search engine last published its bi-annual transparency report, it said it had seen a troubling increase in requests to remove political content. Many of these requests came from western democracies not typically associated with censorship...".* Some countries mentioned in the report include Spain, Germany, Canada, and the UK.