Google’s latest report on transparency shows an “alarming” and “troubling” rise in takedown notices and user data requests from governments around the world.
New Google data shows the U.S. government has more than doubled its requests for search results, YouTube videos and content takedowns during the last six months of 2011.
Google said it received 187 content removal requests for the removal of just shy of 6,200 items. The search giant complied with 42 percent of those requests — a figure totalling more than any other country.
As sister site CNET notes, countries like China and Iran block content without notifying Google, making the comparing of numbers difficult.
During the same time period, the number of requests made by the U.S. government to access private user data grew by 37 percent from 5,950 from the same period in 2010.
Google complied this time around — including partial compliance — 93 percent of the time.
“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 Dorothy Chou, Google’s senior policy analyst.
She noted how Spanish regulators asked Google to remove 270 search results that linked to blogs and articles in which public figures were criticised.
Also noted was the Polish Agency for Enterprise Development who asked Google to remove search results to a site that was also critical.
“We didn’t comply with either of these requests.”