Brazil leads world in Google takedown requests

Google released its semi-annual Transparency Report today, which includes data on the number of content takedown requests it has received from copyright owners and governments. The number of requests increased in the second half of 2012 -- crucially, this is the period that includes the "Innocence of Muslims" affair -- but Google's compliance with those requests decreased.

Jeff Landale summarizes:

While the worldwide number of government requests for content removal jumped, from 1,811 in the first half of 2012 to 2,285 in the second half of the year, Google’s overall compliance rate has fallen. The company now complies with fewer than 50% of content removal requests, whether court orders or direct requests by law enforcement agencies. As Google’s content removal request system matures, the company appears to be growing more confident in its ability to demand the application of due process prior to censoring user content.

The big news on the government side of things is Brazil, which leapfrogged the United States and Germany to become the world's top takedown requester. Here's the top 10:

Brazil: 640 requests

U.S.: 262

Germany: 192

Turkey: 87

Argentina: 51

India: 38

Britain: 36

France: 32

Italy: 23

Spain: 12 

Here's Google's explanation for what's going on with Brazil:

  • We received 316 requests for the removal of 756 distinct pieces of content related to alleged violations of the Brazilian Electoral Code during the 2012 Brazilian Elections. Google removed content in response to 35 final court decisions. Google is exercising its right of appeal provided under Brazilian law in the other cases, on the basis that the content is protected by freedom of expression under the Brazilian Constitution.

    We received a request from a federal prosecutor to remove five blog posts and four search results linking to blog posts that allegedly defame him by accusing him of incompetence and corruption. We did not remove content in response to this request.

    We received a request from a city attorney to remove a blog that allegedly defames him by accusing him of corruption. We did not remove the blog.

    We received a request from one judge to remove a blog that allegedly defamed him by referencing or linking to accusations of corruption, and a similar request from a different judge to remove a search result. We did not remove the blog or the search result.

    We received a court order signed by a judge that ordered us to remove two blog posts, one of which was critical of the judge that signed the order. We appealed the order and the case is still pending.

  • The number of content removal requests we received increased by 265% compared to the previous reporting period.

Brazil was also one of the countries that requested "Innocence of Muslims" be removed. On the other hand, Google only complied with 21 percent of Brazil's requests, the lowest of any of the countries in the top 10. Seems like officials in Brasilia may have a bit of an itchy mouse finger. 

Via Katherine Maher