Transparency is a core value at Google.
June 18, 2012 8:15 AM   Subscribe

Government requests to censor content ‘alarming,’ Google says Google has received more than 1,000 requests from authorities to take down content from its search results or YouTube video in the last six months of 2011. In its twice-yearly Transparency Report, the world’s largest web search engine said the requests were aimed at having some 12,000 items overall removed, about a quarter more than during the first half of last year. [previously]
posted by KokuRyu (21 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
Google only lists one YouTube copyright takedown request, so it would seem DMCA takedowns are not being included?
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 8:21 AM on June 18, 2012

In Canada, Google was asked by officials to get rid of a YouTube video showing a citizen urinating on his passport and flushing it down the toilet. But in that instance the company refused.

I wonder how that went a few months later. "Hello, Passport Canada? I've lost my passport in a plumbing accident..."

If you have a passionate hate for the Canadian government, it seems counterproductive to destroy your passport, as a country that you can't exit by land, ocean or sea border without one.

I want to know what "officials" sent that request, since normally the Canadian government only goes after content online if it's blatant hate speech. The ISOHunt guy is based in the Vancouver area and hasn't been bothered much yet, most of his legal troubles originate from the US.
posted by thewalrus at 8:35 AM on June 18, 2012

Ms. Chou said that in Thailand videos featuring the monarch with a seat over his head have been removed for insulting the monarchy. The country has some of the world’s toughest “lese- majeste” laws.

I think the problem with that specific case was that it wasn't actually the monarch, but a leftover prop from Weekend at His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej's.
posted by griphus at 8:36 AM on June 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

DMCA takedowns are not being included

Those requests come from the "owner" of the content, not from government authorities, no?
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 8:38 AM on June 18, 2012

Lese-Majeste, you say? How about the very much NSFW topless Thai princess video. The video was taken at a birthday party for a dog.
posted by thewalrus at 8:41 AM on June 18, 2012 [2 favorites]

The apparent omission of DMCA requests doesn't have anything to do with whether some government requests it or not. It says in the copyright FAQ that Google doesn't include takedown requests for YouTube, Blogger and other non-search Google properties.

The FAQ is interesting because it notes some other copyright shenanigans, like attempts to suppress links to movie reviews and IMDB pages.
posted by mph at 8:55 AM on June 18, 2012

We imagined the previous period's 29% surge partially represented Arab Spring related surveillance, maybe this period's larger increase represents OWS related surveillance. (see also CISPA)

I wish Google broke this data down by requesting agency though, might help shame the offenders. I'm particularly curious how much this relates to the FBI's desire to play the surveillance game.

Forbe's Greenberg : U.S. Government Requests For Google Users' Private Data Jump 37% In One Year
posted by jeffburdges at 8:59 AM on June 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

The video was taken at a birthday party for a dog.

Yeah, but honestly, who here hasn't done a lap dance at a pet's birthday?
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 8:59 AM on June 18, 2012 [3 favorites]

N.B. thewalrus's link is to Wikileaks, for those who can't go there.
posted by haltingproblemsolved at 9:02 AM on June 18, 2012

Is wikileaks blocked for anyone? If so, the annoying bitlocker 4shared has thailand-crown-prince-dog-birthday.flv too.
posted by jeffburdges at 9:15 AM on June 18, 2012

The [European Union’s executive] Commission has launched a public consultation called “a clean and open Internet”
You have found a cake! Have or eat?

>Do both

You can't do that. Have or eat?

posted by Sys Rq at 9:18 AM on June 18, 2012 [21 favorites]

I'm guessing haltingproblemsolved is warning people who have security clearances, who may risk their clearance if they look at wikileaks.
posted by jjwiseman at 9:32 AM on June 18, 2012

It would be nice if Google kept, and released, a spreadsheet noting every takedown request from a government agency. Certain details would not need to be public: the URLs, for example. But I'd like to see something like this:

US: Jan 1, 2012, NYPD, Defamation, Did not comply
US: Jan 2, 2012, FBI, Child pornography, Complied
US: Jan. 3, 2012, Maricopa County Sheriff, Defamation, Did not comply

People would be able to use the data to look into their own federal, state and local governmental takedown requests -- if the NYPD shows up every week, New Yorkers would be able to go to Bloomberg or Ray Kelly and say, "WTF?" As it is, we only see that government agencies are making these requests at a higher rate, but we have no idea when or why or even how many requests are made by specific agencies.
posted by brina at 9:39 AM on June 18, 2012 [14 favorites]

DMCA takedowns are not being included

Those requests come from the "owner" of the content, not from government authorities, no?

Yes, but it's the government that gives those requests teeth. Is one step of indirection all it takes to conceal censorship?
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 9:53 AM on June 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

Does anyone understand what those regular waves in Chinese Google traffic indicate? (Graph on the Traffic tab)
posted by msalt at 10:01 AM on June 18, 2012

Daytime in China?
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 10:06 AM on June 18, 2012 [5 favorites]

If you want to see waves, just look at any major Internet exchange that publishes traffic graphs. That's layer 2 traffic across a Seattle exchange fabric, not Google or any specific ISP.
posted by thewalrus at 10:28 AM on June 18, 2012 [2 favorites]

Chinese Operators Hope to Standardize a Segmented Internet

A technology draft written by employees at China Mobile and China Telecom and submitted to the Internet Engineering Task Force describes how the Internet could be split into several parts using the Domain Name System and in the process give countries more control over their own segment of the network.
posted by KokuRyu at 10:59 AM on June 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

meanwhile on the other side: U.S. Demands for Google User Data Growing, But Full Picture Remains Murky, from Wired's Threat Level blog.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 2:11 PM on June 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

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