Google report shows increase in censorship, anti-piracy requests

By on November 14, 2012, 5:30 PM

This summer, Google's Transparency Report indicated an increase in global government censorship. Google's latest bi-annual look though illustrates not only a continued increase, but a substantial uptick of government-issued requests in just past six months. In fact, requests to take down websites have increased by more than two-thirds since the last report six months ago.

The Google Transparency Report publicly disseminates website take-down requests, user data requests, traffic patterns and copyright notices received by Google from various government agencies, businesses and organizations. Such requests range anywhere from piracy to just plain old-fashioned censorship.

Even more so than government-issued take-downs though, copyright removals have skyrocketed since the last report. Google is now asked to remove nearly 2 million URLs per week from its search listings. That figure is a gain of nearly 400 percent when compared to numbers from six months ago. By a wide margin, filestube.com was the top source of copyright complaints. Unsurprisingly, various BitTorrent sites also pepper the list.

One huge reason for the rise in government requests was Turkey. This country has been busy, making more than 10 times the number of requests than it did during the first half of 2012. The majority of the requests made asked Google to remove controversial YouTube videos featuring pivotal former Turkish leader Atatürk. Google complied with about two-thirds of those requests, blocking Turkish users from viewing the videos. However, none of the videos were actually removed from YouTube itself -- they remained accessible outside of Turkey.

Overall, the percentage of requests Google actually complies with has dropped substantially from 76 percent to about 52 percent. Google frequently denies requests for take-downs and user information for various reasons, but notes some governments have actually falsified court orders in order to trick the company into compliance.

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