Indian governmental agencies filed a total of 163 requests to remove 714 entries from Google in the first half of 2013, but the company complied to those request only in 20% of the cases, according to the Google Transparency Report the company updated earlier today. While Google honoured 77% of takedown requests sent by government agencies in 2009, this year’s rate is the lowest ever since the company started issuing transparency reports.
Indian governmental agencies came third, behind US (545 requests and 3,887 entries) and Brazil (321 requests and 1,635 entries) in terms of takedown requests passed out to Google for the period of January – June 2013. It needs to be noted that India made 84 requests to take down 596 entries during the same time phrase last year and a total of 244 requests to remove 3,538 entries throughout 2012.
Of all the requests sent by India this year, 147 were by the executive and police, while only 16 were based on court orders. During the same period last year, 64 orders were sent by the executive and 20 by the judiciary and for 2012 as a whole, 58 were sent by the judiciary, while the executive sent 186 requests to Google.
More than 30% of all requests sent by governmental agencies were on charges of defamation, followed by religious offenses which added up to 15% all requests sent. Privacy and security (13%), impersonation (9%), adult content (7%), hate speech (3%), bullying/harassment (2%), copyright (2%), government criticism (2%), national security (1%), violence (1%) were the reasons stated while requesting removal of information from Google. It needs to be noted that no reason was stated while requesting removal in 2% cases by the executive.
YouTube the biggest target
YouTube was the website against which most takedown requests were sent, but not even one of them was on the basis of a court order. YouTube received 56 requests to remove 423 videos. Google removed 4 videos from the list on the basis of community guidelines, 18 videos on the basis of local laws and 34 videos on the basis of requests sent by governmental agencies. Religious offense was the highest stated reason for removal of YouTube video with 16 requests for 146 videos. This was followed by defamation, which too received 16 requests to remove 46 videos. There were 6 requests sent to Google, to remove 16 videos, four requests each on the basis of national security, adult content, privacy and security among others.
A total of 35 requests were sent to remove 108 links from Google search results by governmental agencies, of which 6 requests were on the basis of court orders. Defamation was the most stated reason with 136 requests, followed by adult content (10), privacy and security (4), religious offense (2), reason unspecified (2) and impersonation (1). The executive branch of the government sent out six requests to remove 53 results from Google Images and adult content, privacy and security and defamation were stated as reasons.
27 requests were sent to remove 57 links from Blogger and in this case too defamation was the top reason with 14 orders, of which 3 came with a court order and 11 were from the executive. Adult content and privacy & security were other reasons cited with 6 and 4 requests.
A total of 14 requests were filed with Google to find out more information from Gmail accounts. In 6 cases privacy and security was stated as the reason, in 3 cases it was due to defamation charges, bullying and impersonation were stated as reasons in two cases each and in one case, a court order was issued and no reason was stated.
Turns out, people still use Orkut and it received a total of 8 requests to remove data, while Google Plus seems to have received only 4 orders. In six instances impersonation was stated as the reason for Orkut takedowns, while in case of Google Plus, privacy and security, defamation, adult content and impersonation were listed as reason once.
Google Maps, despite having some shady content received only one request to remove content.
Blogger a hotspot for defamation: A total of 14 cases were filed against Blogger in cases of defamation while YouTube was targeted 16 times for offending religious sensibilities.