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Monday, 29 April 2013

Google sees global censorship requests rising, S Asia no exception

Google sees global censorship requests rising, S Asia no exception

South Asian countries Bangladesh, India, Maldives, Pakistan are among the countries requesting search giant Google to remove content from its platform. Brazil and the US account for the highest number, followed by Germany, India and Turkey.
Search giant Google continues to receive governments' requests to remove content from its platform. For the July-December 2012 period, the company received 2,285 requests from governments across the world to remove 24,179 pieces of content, against 1,811 requests to remove 18,070 pieces of content in the first half of 2012.

Brazil and the US accounted for the highest number, followed by Germany, India and Turkey. "As we've gathered and released more data over time, it has become increasingly clear that the scope of government attempts to censor content on Google services has grown. In more places than ever, we've been asked by governments to remove political content that people post on our services. In this particular period, we received court orders in several countries to remove blog posts criticising government officials or their associates," Susan Infantino, legal director, Google, wrote in her blog.

Google received 122 requests from various Indian government departments to remove 2,529 pieces of content from its platform, a significant rise compared with 64 requests to remove 109 items during the year-ago period.

Through court orders, Google received an additional 38 requests to pull down 413 items.

According to the Google transparency report, the company received queries regarding YouTube videos that contained clips of the film Innocence of Muslims from 20 countries---Australia, Bangladesh, Brazil, Brunei, Djibouti, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Iran, Jordan, Lebanon, Maldives, Malaysia, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Turkey, United Arab Emirates and the US.

"Australia, Egypt, and the US requested that we review the videos to determine if these violated our community guidelines, which they did not. The other 17 countries requested we remove the videos. We restricted videos from view in Indonesia, India, Jordan, Malaysia, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore and Turkey. Due to difficult circumstances, we temporarily restricted videos from view in Egypt and Libya," said the report.

During the period of turmoil in the northeast, Google received five requests from the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team to remove content from Google+, a Blogger blog, 64 YouTube videos and 1,759 comments associated with YouTube videos. The response team cited laws covering disruption of public order or ethnic offence laws. Google restricted 47 YouTube videos from local view, in addition to removing 12 YouTube comments and disabling local access to three Blogger blog posts that violated local laws.