Germany asked Google to delete nearly 1,700 records from its servers due to defamation alone in the first six months of this year, according to data released by Google’s Transparency Report today.
In its biannual Transparency Report Google publishes statistical information about the number of requests governments make for content to be deleted from its servers. This information can range from websites, YouTube videos, and even Gmail accounts. While Google is not the only company which receives these requests it is one of the few that makes the information public. Such requests could come from government departments or courts.
European Governments were particularly active in the first six months of 2011, the period covered by this report, and made over 300 requests for over 5,000 records to be deleted (one government request could ask for a number of records to be removed at the same time). In contrast the United States made 92 requests covering 757 records. Brazil made the greatest number of requests for data removal, 224, these covered 689 separate records. Germany and Norway asked for the largest number of records to be deleted (2,405 and 1,814 records respectively).
Germany consistently makes the greatest number of requests to Google, due largely to its strong youth protection laws. The UK was the third largest European source of requests to Google, the British Government made 65 deletion requests, covering 333 records; these largely involved the removal of YouTube videos for reasons of “Privacy and Security,” “National Security,” “Violence,” and “Hate Speech.”
Not all requests for data to be deleted were complied with; the Irish Government made <10 requests for data to be deleted none of which Google upheld.
China made only three requests for data removal, covering 121 records, Google says this low number is because “Chinese officials consider disclosing the nature of the requests to be state secrets, so we cannot do so at this time.” During the period of this report Google’s services were inaccessible in Libya.