Google report: Censorship on the rise

As it once again publishes the number of government requests it receives, “one trend has become clear: Government surveillance is on the rise,” Google announced today.

This is the sixth time the online giant has published its Transparency Report. It started in early 2010, and does so twice a year. The data released today has been updated with the requests it received form January to June 2012.

Requests from government entities to remove content was mostly stagnant from 2009 to 2011, but “it’s spiked in this reporting period.” In this first half of this year, there were 1,791 requests from government officials globally to remove 17,746 pieces of content.

In addition, “government demands for user data have increased steadily since we first launched the Transparency Report. In the first half of 2012, there were 20,938 inquiries from government entities around the world. Those requests were for information about 34,614 accounts,” Google explained in a blog post.

“Governments’ growing interest in Google users can be explained in part by the fact that more people are online, but the numbers suggest the pace of surveillance is growing faster than the rate of connectivity. Also take note that while many of these requests relate to legitimate court orders or police investigations, others are illegitimate and Google does not comply with all the requests. In the last report, for instance, the company refused to give the government of Canada the identity of a YouTube subscriber who peed on his passport and flushed it down the toilet,” Gigaom noted.

Images: Google’s Official Blog

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