Google: US law enforcement tried to get videos removed from YouTube
The technology giant’s biannual transparency report reveals a 70% rise in takedown requests from US government or police
guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 25 October 2011 18.22 BST
Google faced down demands from a US law enforcement agency to take down YouTube videos allegedly showing police brutality earlier this year, figures released for the first time show.
The technology giant’s biannual transparency report shows that Google refused the demands from the unnamed authority in the first half of this year.
According to the report, Google separately declined orders by other police authorities to remove videos that allegedly defamed law enforcement officials.
The demands formed part of a 70% rise in takedown requests from the US government or police, and were revealed as part of an effort to highlight online censorship around the world.
Figures revealed for the first time show that the US demanded private information about more than 11,000 Google users between January and June this year, almost equal to the number of requests made by 25 other developed countries, including the UK and Russia.
Governments around the world requested private data about 25,440 people in the first half of this year, with 11,057 of those people in the US.
It is the first time Google has released details about how many of its users are targeted by authorities, as opposed to the number of requests made by countries.
“For the first time, we’re not only disclosing the number of requests for user data, but we’re showing the number of users or accounts that are specified in those requests too,” said Dorothy Chou, a senior policy analyst at Google.
“We believe that providing this level of detail highlights the need to modernize laws like the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, which regulates government access to user information and was written 25 years ago—long before the average person had ever heard of email.”
Brazil made the most content removal requests in the first half of this year, according to the report, followed by Germany, the US and South Korea.