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November 14, 2012

Government requests to remove user content rises during H1 2012: Google

The US government topped the list by demanding details for about 7,969 times concerning 16,281 accounts

By CBR Staff Writer

Government surveillance on web users has risen condierably in last six months, with the number of requests made by the Governments around the world to access user content has increased to 21,000 during the period.

According to the Google’s Transparency Report, the number was up from 18,257 requests between July-December 2011, and a rise from 12,539 requests made during July and December 2009.

Google senior policy analyst Dorothy Chou said this is the sixth time the firm has released this data, and one trend has become clear: government surveillance is on the rise.

"We think it’s important to shine a light on how government actions could affect our users," Chou said.

During the period, the US government topped the list by demanding details for about 7,969 times concerning 16,281 accounts, followed by India with 2,319 requests, in addition to the UK with 1,425 and other nations including Brazil, France, and Germany with 1,500 requests.

The report revealed that worldwide authorities made 1,789 requests to take out the content, in which Turkey topped the list by making 501 requests for content removal during H1 2012.

The UK government has asked for 1,425 data requests to the company during the period, which is almost double the number of requests made during the past six months.

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The number includes court orders, in addition to requests from officials or police, while the highest requests were associated with defamation, privacy and security, while other reasons include impersonation, pornography, hate speech, copyright or nationalsecurity.

Google revealed that it fulfilled about 52% of the requests made during H1, while in some cases it had also received fake court orders for content deletion.

"Our hope is that over time, more data will bolster public debate about how we can best keep the Internet free and open," Chou said.

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