Google says content removal requests are way up in Russia, Brazil

In its seventh annual transparency report, Google drew special attention to Russia and Brazil, where new laws pertaining to Internet content have yielded a flood of removal requests. 

Russian President Vladimir Putin takes part in a live nationwide phone-in in Moscow, on April 25, 2013. Google said today that it was receiving an increasing amount of content removal requests from the Russian government.

From July to December of 2012, Google received a record number of content removal requests, both from the United States government and countries such as Russia and Brazil.

In a transparency report issued today, Google's legal director, Susan Infantino, noted that 2,285 government requests were issued in the second half of last year, up steeply from 1,811 requests in the six months prior. This is the seventh transparency report released by Google, Infantino added. 

"As we’ve gathered and released more data over time, it’s become increasingly clear that the scope of government attempts to censor content on Google services has grown," Infantino wrote in the report. "In more places than ever, we’ve been asked by governments to remove political content that people post on our services. In this particular time period, we received court orders in several countries to remove blog posts criticizing government officials or their associates."

Infantino drew special attention to a big spike in requests from Brazil (697 requests) and Russia (114 requests), two countries that recently enacted laws pertaining to the availability of Internet content. (Users interested in finding out which requests Google complied with – and which they fought, successfully or not, in court – can be found here.) 

Of course, as Jeff John Roberts notes over at GigaOM, Google isn't the only tech titan to publish a regular transparency report. According to Twitter, from January of 2012 to January of 2013, the company received 1,858 information requests, 48 removal requests, and 6,646 copyright notices. The microblogging platform has also published a dedicated repository for this kind of data, which can be accessed at

Looking for a Facebook transparency report of requests from governments?

Good luck. It doesn't exist

For more tech news, follow us on Twitter @venturenaut.

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