Google has this week released its eighth transparency report after fielding thousands of takedown requests across the globe.
Since 2010 the search engine giant has been releasing these reports detailing government requests to take down specific content in search results. Most of these requests come from law enforcement, individual politicians, court orders and executives.
Effectively, Google claims in a blog post, it is being bullied to remove content from the internet. "Judges have asked us to remove content that's critical of them, police departments order us to take down videos or images that might defame them and local institutions don't want to people to find out about their decision making process," the company writes.
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The transparency bandwagon
The number of requests has increased by 68 per cent since the second half of 2012. In total, Google received 3,846 takedown requests that affected 24,737 pieces of content on the Web. The US alone contributed 545 requests to the total, a 70 per cent increase over its requests in 2012.
Google is following Twitter in publishing these requests. However, since leaks from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, including a data collection program involving a number of top tech companies, have come to light, many of them have jumped on the transparency bandwagon.
The numbers in the report only demonstrate takedown requests to have content removed from Google's services. They are not representative of national security data requests, where they are asked to supply information on its users.
Along with Facebook, Microsoft, Dropbox and other tech companies, Google continues to lobby the US government to permit them to publish exactly how many data requests they receive and how many users the data requests affect.
In August the US announced that it will release its own report, but it hasn't stopped the formation of a coalition of companies looking for more transparency in government data tactics.