Search giant Google’s Australian subsidiary overnight updated information showing the company had 10 requests for the removal of content from its results between January and June this year.
Google’s Transparency Report, released every six months or so, shows requests by Government authorities in Australia for the removal of content from Google and YouTube properties reached 10 between January and June. Of these 10 requests, just 4 (or 40%) were actually implemented, the search giant said.
In comparison, between July and December last year less than 10 requests were received, while in January to June 14 requests were sent to Google. July to December in 2009 – the first period of time in which data has been made available by Google – requests were at their highest point of 17, which has not yet been reached or surpassed again.
Just two of the requests for the removal of content were for privacy and security concerns with Google’s web search results, with the company’s data showing that 8 were for its popular video platform, YouTube. Defamation, Pornography and Other all were listed as having two take-down requests each, while Privacy and Security and Hate Speech both had one request each.
Google’s data also shows requests by the Government for information about Google account holders have jumped to the highest levels yet, with 361 requests made between January and June. Previously, the highest was 345, recorded between July and December last year, with account information requests steadily increasing year-over-year.
Of the 361 requests for Google and YouTube services, 412 user accounts were mentioned, although comparable data isn’t available because until this year Google hadn’t recorded it separately.
“The number of requests we receive for user account information as part of criminal investigations has increased year after year,” Google explains about the increase.
“The increase isn’t surprising, since each year we offer more products and services, and we have a larger number of users.”
The United States had over 9 times the number of Australian removal requests, with 5950 data requests about Google Accounts made. China had just 3 removal requests, while closer to home New Zealand had less than 10 requests for content to be removed.
Google, which prides itself on being an ‘open’ company, says it releases the reports to “maximize transparency around the flow of information related to our tools and services.”