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 transparency.twitter.com.
Looking for a Facebook transparency report of requests from governments?
Good luck. It doesn't exist.
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