Transfer Pricing Associates

Google Published Transparency Report in response to Increasing Governments Request

post Wednesday November 23, 2011



Over the years, Google has been asked by different governments to remove some of their content due to various reasons, for example, in 2009, Google left Chinese mainland market to protest Chinese government censorship. In 2011, Brazil government asked Google to remove about 291 items and request for 3,663 data, which are the highest among countries, due to copyright infringement reason. Germany, who also has a high number, requests Google to remove the content that is mostly related to Nazi paraphernalia and Holocaust denial. U.S. ranks the third. India governments asked Google to remove content on Youtube from 2010-2011, which displays protests against social leaders and religious leaders.

Google stated in its website that it doesn’t generally track removal requests from governments, “unless there are extraordinary circumstances behind the request”. By far, more than 1/2 of the requests from different governments are about content on Youtube, whose content are developed by private third parties.

The requests from governments to remove contents are not new and the arguments about whether to remove or not have never been over. This October, a U.S. law enforcement agency asked Google to remove a Youtube video and Google refused; however, it didn’t clarify the reason. In order to provide more clarity to this issue, Google compiles requests from government agencies and courts all over the world asking to remove content or send user data and publishes a transparency report each year to help public better view and discuss the scope and authority of government request. Google explains in its FAQ what the requests are and how many they comply with. “When we receive a request for user information, we review it carefully and only provide information within the scope and authority of the request. We may refuse to produce information or try to narrow the request in some cases.” said Google.

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