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December 23, 2013

Google reports 68% rise in Government data removal requests

Russia and Turkey top the list.

By CBR Staff Writer

Google has reported a 68% rise in the number of government requests to remove content from its services during the first half of 2013.

The search giant’s latest Transparency Report revealed that there were 3,846 government requests to delete 24,737 parts of content between January and June 2013, with Turkey and Russia topping the list.

During H1, the search engine company received 1,673 requests from Turkish authorities to remove content, which is nearly a tenfold rise over the second half of 2013.

Of the overall requests, about two-thirds of them called for the deletion of content associated with alleged breaches of law 5651, which controls crimes committed through the Internet.

Google legal director Susan Infantino said that over the past four years, one worrying trend has remained consistent: governments continue to ask to remove political content.

"Judges have asked us to remove information that’s critical of them, police departments want us to take down videos or blogs that shine a light on their conduct, and local institutions like town councils don’t want people to be able to find information about their decision-making processes," Infantino said.

"These officials often cite defamation, privacy and even copyright laws in attempts to remove political speech from our services.

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"In this particular reporting period, we received 93 requests to take down government criticism and removed content in response to less than one third of them.

"Four of the requests were submitted as copyright claims."

The UK government made 117 requests for removal of 556, while the US requested the deletion of 3,887 items, during the period.

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