Google reported that government requests to remove content from its search results and Google features rose 71 percent between January and July.
There were 1,789 requests in the six months, up from 1,048 during the last six months of 2011, according to the Official Google Blog. Turkey had the highest number of requests to take down content -- 501, a steep rise from 45 just last year. The United States was second with requests, 273, and a rise from 187 last year, according to Bloomberg Businessweek.
While countries can request the take down of material for defamation or race-baiting, Google may choose not to comply. The requests encompass not only Google search results, but also the Google-owned YouTube.
“We think it’s important to shine a light on how government actions could affect our users,” said Dorothy Chou, senior policy analyst at Google. “The number of government requests to remove content from our services was largely flat from 2009 to 2011. But it’s spiked in this reporting period.”
Despite its stand for free speech, Google does take down offensive material -- but material that is considered illegal in its host country, such as banning YouTube videos criticizing the Thailand monarchy in Thailand.
Google also responds to user data requests, when governments ask Google hand over information. The United States had the highest number of user requests, 7,969, up 26 percent. The second highest? India with 2,319 data requests.
What this tells us is that Google seems to make good on 90 percent of theses user data requests in the United States. So, be careful where you decided to go on the Internet because Big Brother is definitely watching -- and can get a user data request relatively easily.