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Google releases statistics of government requests

Ever wondered how regularly Google is requested to remove or show content? In another move intended to highlight the company's transparency, the search giant released statistics on Monday, June 27th. The statistics displayed are broken down to a country-by-country format, and displays the number of requests made within the second half of 2010. Between July and December, the United States requested the most information, with 4,601 requests made. As reported by Ars Technica, the Google information can be viewed here.

Rather surprisingly, Brazil is shown to have made the most requests for takedowns of information, with 263 requests made. These requests resulted in the removal of 12,363 items. Google has continually released information in six-month intervals, with the data reaching back eighteen months. Brazil set the same trend for requesting the removal of the most data during the same time period of 2009, but interestingly, their numbers have decreased in 2010. American requests rose by close to a third in the second-half of 2010, when compared with the second-half of 2009. Google has also shared the comparison of accepted and declined requests. The highest number of requests complied were those of the United States, with 94% having been accepted. Other countries with over 80% compliance were Japan, Singapore, and Australia. However, the least accepted were Turkey and Hungary - Google refused all of their information requests.

In South Korea, Portugal, Argentina, and Poland, less than half of the request made were accepted by Google. Information on Google content removal also shows what is accepted in other countries and cultures. For example, the Thai government requested Google remove 43 items that were "mocking or criticizing the king", which is a felony in Thailand. Video content depicting the assassination of Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi was removed, though criticism of Indian politicians was not removed.

The information released by Google also shows that their products have different levels of appeal in different countries: unsurprising certainly, but it is interesting that Brazil is one of the biggest users of Orkut, which is a Google social network in the same vein as Facebook and MySpace. Comparisons of Facebook and Orkut are difficult even with this information, due to the fact that Facebook does not release content such as this.


Google information can be viewed here.

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