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Between July and December 2012, Google has received 160 content removal requests from the Indian government to remove 2,942 items and it has fully or partially complied with 36% of these requests, the company has revealed as a part of its Transparency report.

Both removal requests and the compliance rate has increased over the six month period, as Google had received 101 requests for removal of 596 items of content between Jan-June 2012 and it had complied with 33% of theses requests. However, its worth noting that while the government requests have shot up by nearly four-fold, Google’s compliance rate has seen only a minor 3% increase.

Court Orders V/s Indian Authorities

Of the 160 removal requests, Google informed that court orders accounted for 38 requests seeking the removal of 413 items and it had complied with 53% of these requests.

On the other hand, Indian authorities which includes government executives and police among others, accounted for 122 requests seeking the removal of 2,529 items and Google had complied with 30% of these requests.

Reasons For Content Removal Requests

Religious Offense was the most prominent reason for content removal requests, with the company receiving 65 requests to remove a total 2,338 items, which includes 2,328 items on YouTube, 4 items each on Blogger and Google+ and 1 item each on Google Images and Web search.

This was followed by ‘privacy and security’, for which Google received 21 requests to remove 287 items for  ‘privacy and security’ reason, which includes 256 items on Search, 12 items on Picasa web albums, 9 items on YouTube, 3 items each on Blogger and Orkut and 1 item each on Gmail, Google Groups, Google+ and Google+ Local.

Google received 32 requests to remove 139 items on defamation, which includes 61 items on YouTube, 48 items on Search, 23 items on Blogger, 3 items each on Google Images and Orkut and 1 item on Google+ Local. There’s a complete list here.

Product Wise Breakdown

YouTube received the highest number of content removal requests, accounting for 97 requests which sought the removal of 2,540 items. This was followed by Blogger which received 20 such requests to remove 42 items, and Google Search which received 18 requests to remove 311 items. Orkut received nine requests to remove 13 items while Picasa received two requests to remove 13 items.

North East Exodus

During the North East Exodus in August 2012, Google informed that it received five requests from the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) to remove content from Google+, a Blogger blog, 64 YouTube videos, and 1759 comments related to few YouTube videos. In response, Google removed one YouTube video, 12 YouTube comments and restricted 47 YouTube videos from local viewing. It also restricted local access to three blogger blog posts which apparently violated the local law. The Indian government had blocked 245 web pages with inflammatory and hateful content in August 2012, following the exodus of a large number of people belonging to the North Eastern ethnic community from cities like Bangalore and Pune, among others.

Google also added that it had received a court order addressed to a third party to remove 247 search results that allegedly violated an individual’s privacy, however the company did not comply with this order since it was unable to determine the individual’s relationship to the court order. The company claimed that it had sought a clarification on this, but hasn’t received any reply yet.

It also informed that a city Cyber Crime Investigation Cell had sent a request to remove the existing depictions of disputed Jammu and Kashmir borders in five Google Maps domains other from, however the company didn’t comply with this request.

Besides this, Google also apparently received Community Guidelines violation inquiries regarding YouTube videos which contain clips of the movie, “Innocence of Muslims” from 20 countries including India, following which the company restricted the videos from viewing in eight countries including Indonesia, India, Jordan, Malaysia, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore and Turkey.


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