How you see this news will depend on which side you are on “the Web censorship” issue. And if you believe in censorship, then the revelation will disappoint you.
In its fifth semi-annual Transparency Report providing insights into requests by countries around the world to “take down” content from search results or Google venues such as YouTube, Google has revealed that the Indian government made 255 requests for removal of content (which the Government found objectionable) from Google services in the 2010-2011. But the Internet search giant complied with only 29% of the requests.
The number of content removal requests received by Google in India was 49 percent higher in the second half of last year than in the first six months.
What constitutes Objectionable Content:
Political commentary remains a prime target of Governments not only in India, but also in other countries. With the increase in the number of internet users in the country, the number of requests for Google to remove material has also increased.
Interestingly, it’s not the third world countries like India, where Governments tryt cap the free expression. Western democracies, that are not typically associated with censorship, are still the ones with most Content Removal Requests.
The number of requests from the United States doubled in the second half of last year.
Other interesting revelations:
1) Ukraine, Jordan and Bolivia showed up for the first time on the list of countries out to have online material removed.
2) Google complied with slightly more than half of the approximately 1,000 requests it received to remove material or links.
3) The Report doesn’t provide insights regarding countries such as China where tight Internet controls allow for blocking of content, eliminating the need to ask Google to take down content.
4) From the start of July through December of last year, Google complied with approximately 65 percent of the more that 467 court orders to remove material and with 47 percent of the more than 561 request without judicial backing.
5) The number of requests has grown steadily during the past two years.
6) Google believes that the numbers which they shared can only provide a small window into what’s happening on the Web at large. The universe of objectionable content is still existing on the Web, Governments complain about only that content which is brought to their notice.