Sure China censors lots and lots, but everyone knows that. But other countries, even Canada censors. Well, they try. I don't know if this is Google trying for another pat on the back about freedom of speech or not, but it is still an interesting article.
Google Getting More Requests From Democracies to Censor
By NICOLE PERLROTH | June 18, 2012, 6:30 PM 1 Comment
Government censorship is on the rise — and not just in the countries you would expect, according to Google.
The search giant said that between July and December 2011, it received more than 1,000 requests from governments around the globe to remove content or turn over information about its users. It complied with over half those cases, which are detailed in its twice a year Global Transparency Report released on Sunday.
“Unfortunately, what we’ve seen over the past couple years has been troubling, and today is no different,” Dorothy Chou, a Google senior policy analyst, wrote in a blog post. “When we started releasing this data, in 2010, we noticed that government agencies from different countries would sometimes ask us to remove political content that our users had posted on our services. We hoped this was an aberration. But now we know it’s not.”
In the last half of 2011, Google said it received 467 court orders for the removal of more than 7,000 items. It complied with an average of 65 percent of those orders. It also received more than 561 informal requests to remove more than 4,979 items. It complied with 47 percent of those cases. These numbers do not reflect censorship in countries like Iran and China, which routinely censor content from Google without notifying the company.
Google said it was alarmed by the number of government requests to censor political speech, particularly from Western democracies like the United States, Spain and Poland. Google said it received a request from Canada’s passport-issuing agency to take down a YouTube video of one of its citizens urinating on his passport and flushing it down a toilet. (It did not.)
The company received more requests for user data from United States authorities than it did from any other country. The number of user removal requests from American authorities jumped 70 percent from the first to the second half of last year. Google received 6,321 requests to turn over information about users from American authorities, though that figure also includes requests from United States government on behalf of other governments with which it has diplomatic agreements. Its compliance rate in those cases — 93 percent — was higher than its compliance rate for any other country.
It said it did not comply in one case where a local law enforcement agency asked it to remove YouTube videos it said showed police brutality.
In the last half of 2011, the company said it also received 14 requests from Spanish regulators asking it to remove 270 search results that linked to news articles and blog posts about public figures, including mayors and public prosecutors. Spain’s Data Protection Authority also asked Google to remove three blogs published on Blogger and three videos from YouTube. It also received a request from Poland to remove a search result that was critical of its Agency for Enterprise Development and eight more sites that linked to the post. Google said it did not comply in any of those cases.