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U.S. Govt. Ranks First in Google Takedown Requests

By Cynthia Hsu, Esq. on October 31, 2011 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

So far this year, the United States government ranks first in the number of Google takedown requests it sends to the tech giant.

This data was revealed as part of Google's Transparency Report. The report even elaborated on what kind of removal requests were made on which of the web giant's platforms.

By far, the biggest reason behind takedown requests was because of alleged defamation. This probably comes as little surprise.

Google owns a variety of different sites that could be prone to potentially illegal content. They have Gmail, the popular email client. There's also Google Groups, Google Videos, YouTube, and Blogger.

Defamation isn't the only reason government and law enforcement agencies have stepped in. There was one reported incident involving national security. And there was a request by a local law enforcement agency requesting the removal of a YouTube clip over police brutality. The video was not taken down.

The Transparency Report also reveals interesting tidbits about what other governments want taken off the web. Germany wanted Nazi memorabilia videos removed, reports The Register.

Americans concerned about censorship shouldn't fret. It doesn't seem like Google necessarily complies with every request.

And while the U.S. government ranks first, that might only be the case because in countries where censorship is policy, like in China, some Google services have been blocked completely.

The report indicates that YouTube was barred in China during the reporting period between January and June of this year. All Google services were blocked in Libya during the time frame. Some services were inaccessible in Turkey. And if the service is blocked, there is no real need to file any Google takedown requests.

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