Tech blog

Tech blog

Transparency Report

Information wants to be free, but many agencies, from governments to private companies, would like to see it chained, though sometimes for legitimate reasons.
Google regularly publishes a Transparency Report to track the requests it receives from governments around the world to remove information from its services.  Starting this year, the report has a new section to collate requests for removing content from copyright owners as well. 

In the last one month, Google received requests to remove 1.2 million URLs pointing at nearly 24,000 web sites from its search index. The usual suspects, the various torrent sites, top the list of these offending web sites.

Media and entertainment companies such as NBC, Universal music, Sony, Warner Music Group and industry organisations such as RIAA and British Recorded Music Industry were most vociferous in defending their copyrighted material.

But surprisingly the most aggrieved copyright holder, the company which made the most requests to check violations, was Microsoft. The tech giant took help of its archenemy, Google, to check the widespread illegal downloads of its software.

Governments – executive authorities and courts - around the world routinely ask Google to remove content from its various services and part with information on specific users, who may have violated their laws.

The top five countries, which sought user data between January to June 2011 (the period the latest report covers) were all self-congratulatory democracies: USA, India, France, UK and Germany.  USA made 5,950 requests and Google acceded to 93 per cent of them. India made 1,739 requests and Google complied with 70 per cent of them.
Indian officials made 68 requests to remove 358 items from various Google services.

Google complied with 51 per cent of them. Twenty five of the requests targeted Orkut material, which toyed with impersonation, privacy, security, defamation and hate speech.

Nineteen requests targeted YouTube and 14 Blogger. Content was also removed from Search, Google Earth, Google Maps and Panoramio. Only 5 Indian requests came from the courts; rest were a simple executive order. USA asked Google to delete material 92 times and 63 per cent of its requests were complied with.

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