New Delhi: Google has received government
requests for removal of 358 items from its services, including
YouTube and Orkut, during the January-June period, according
to a report by the Internet search giant.
As many as 255 item removal requests cited the government
criticism as the reason, said the Google Transparency Report.
The government had asked Google to remove 236 items from Orkut
and 19 items from YouTube for the same reason, it added.
Other reasons include defamation (39 requests), privacy
and security (20 requests), impersonation (14 requests), hate
speech (8 requests), pornography (3 requests) and national
security (1 request).
As much as 51 per cent of the total requests were
partially or fully complied with, the report said.
The information assumes significance in the backdrop of
the raging controversy over the screening of content on social
networking sites. Communications and IT Minister Kapil Sibal
has asked them to screen derogatory, defamatory and
inflammatory content about political leaders and religion.
The report added that "we declined the majority of these
requests and only locally restricted videos that appeared to
violate local laws prohibiting speech that could incite
enmity between communities".
According to the report, Orkut topped the list of
products for which content/item removal requests were received
with 264 requests.
Google received requests from the state and the local law
enforcement agencies to remove YouTube videos that displayed
protests against social leaders or used offensive language in
reference to religious leaders, the report said.
"In addition, we received a request from a local law
enforcement agency to remove 236 communities and profiles from
Orkut (Google`s social networking site) that were critical of
a local politician. We did not comply with this request, since
the content did not violate our community standards or local
law," it said.
During the January-June period, Google received 1,739
user data requests, which are government’s requests for
disclosure of user data from Google accounts or services. In
addition, 2,439 users/account data access requests were made.
Google report statesd that 70 percent of the data
requests have been fully or partially compiled with.
"The number of requests we receive for user account
information as part of criminal investigations has increased
year after year. The increase is not surprising, since each
year we offer more products and services, and we have a larger
number of users," the report said.