TECH
04/26/2013 12:10 pm ET Updated 6 days ago

Google Transparency Report Reveals More Government Snooping Than Ever

World governments keep asking Google to remove content, and Google keeps tattling on them. In its latest transparency report, released Thursday, Google writes that the number of requests from governments to remove online content has grown. Between July and December 2012, Google received 2,285 requests to remove online content, compared with only 1,811 requests during the first six months of 2012. These numbers have been steadily growing since 2010.

google transparency report

A graph of content removal requests from Google.

Many of the removal requests were made in reference to "Innocence of Muslims," an offensive film on YouTube that caused a huge upheaval in the Muslim world. Google explained the situation in its transparency report:

During this period, we received inquiries from 20 countries regarding YouTube videos containing clips of the movie “Innocence of Muslims." While the videos were within our Community Guidelines, we restricted videos from view in several countries in accordance with local law after receiving formal legal complaints. We also temporarily restricted videos from view in Egypt and Libya due to the particularly difficult circumstances there.

The outrage was so great that the Egyptian government decided to ban all of YouTube, not just the one video, for a period of time in February (which doesn't fall within the six months Google examined).

Google has been releasing these transparency reports for 3 years, in an effort to shed light on the way global governments attempt to restrict the Internet and the way Google deals with issues of censorship. Google recently updated its traffic page to include more information about country-specific disruptions to Google services.

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