turtix / Shutterstock.com

Google Reveals Government Attempt to Scrub Alleged Prisoner Abuse

The search giant’s latest transparency reports offers granular detail about the takedown requests it receives from governments around the world.

Google on Monday released information about the government requests it receives to take down its content, revealing attempts in the U.S. to scrub content related to alleged prisoner abuse, sex crimes with a minor, and fraudulent business dealings.

The search giant for the first time released specific examples of takedown requests from governments around the world alongside its semiannual transparency report, providing a fuller look at how law-enforcement agencies and others attempt to police search results and YouTube videos.

One such example recounts a request from the Georgia Department of Corrections to "remove a YouTube video depicting alleged abuse of inmates."

"The department requested the video be removed due to its violent nature," reads the example, listed as occurring between June and December 2013. "Outcome: We did not remove content in response to this request as the video did not violate YouTube Community Guidelines."

Overall, Google fielded 3,105 government requests to scrub 14,367 pieces of content—such as a blog post, search result, or YouTube video—from June to December 2013, the most recent interval made available. That marks a slight decrease from the first half of 2013, which witnessed an all-time high of 3,846 requests. Collectively, however, 2013 saw about a 60 percent increase in takedown requests over 2012.

In a blog post, Google attributed the decline to the the absence of a flood of requests from Turkey, which caused a spike earlier in the year. But the Silicon Valley titan did see a 25 percent increase in requests from Russia, as well as increases in requests from Thailand and India.

Google's transparency report is the ninth of its kind. But the inclusion of additional, specific details is part of the company's effort to provide more context to its statistics and "push the envelope on the story we can tell with this kind of information."

"Our Transparency Report is certainly not a comprehensive view of censorship online," the blog post read. "However, it does provide a lens on the things that governments and courts ask us to remove, underscoring the importance of transparency around the processes governing such requests."

Another U.S. example recounts a "third-party court order forwarded by a Tampa pharmacist asking us to remove two news articles from search results relating to his arrest for sexual solicitation of a minor over the Internet pursuant to the court order." That request was also denied, and no content was removed, Google said.

In another, Google received a request accompanying a court order from a CEO of a credit company requesting "we remove 333 search results for articles that suggested he was engaged in fraudulent business dealings." That, too, was denied, as the company deemed the court order was "irrelevant to the content in question."

Similarly detailed examples are listed for dozens of other countries.

Google said the majority of content that government authorities ask to have removed are blog posts, but search content and YouTube videos are also common requests. Some involve defamation as well as copyright infringement.

The examples Google lists stretch back as far as the period from July to December 2009. Other notable takedown requests include inquires from 20 countries regarding the controversialInnocence of Muslims video, which has been linked to the 2012 attack on a U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi.

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.