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Govt of India's requests for web content removal, user details soar

Nov 14 2012, 22:04 IST
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Indicating a growing trend of the government surveillance of internet activities of people and organisations, India sought confidential web user details in as many as 2,319 cases from Google in the first six months of 2012. (Reuters) Indicating a growing trend of the government surveillance of internet activities of people and organisations, India sought confidential web user details in as many as 2,319 cases from Google in the first six months of 2012. (Reuters)
SummaryIndicating a growing trend of the government surveillance of internet activities of people and organisations, India sought confidential web user details in as many as 2,319 cases from Google in the first six months of 2012.

Indicating a growing trend of the government surveillance of internet activities of people and organisations, India sought confidential web user details in as many as 2,319 cases from Google in the first six months of 2012.

Besides, the number of items sought to be removed from Google's various internet platforms such as YouTube videos, search results, images and web pages, more than doubled to 596 in the six-month period to June 2012, Google said.

The number of requests for web user details rose by five per cent from those made in the preceding six-month period (July-December 2011), and placed India at the second place after the US in terms of the government requests for user data from Google.

However, Google has declined the Indian authorities' request in about one-third cases.

Google said in its half-yearly Transparency Report that it complied with 64 per cent of the total 2,319 requests made by the Indian authorities between January-June 2012.

In July-December 2011, Google had received 2,207 such requests from Indian authorities and had complied with in 66 per cent cases.

Besides, Google was also asked by Indian authorities to remove as many as 596 items (including photos, web pages, videos etc) from its various platforms and websites like Youtube, Orkut and Google Images.

Google received content removal requests in a total of 84 cases in the first half of 2012, including 20 cases related to court orders and 64 requests made by the agencies like government departments and police.

The items requested to be removed in these cases included as many as 374 related to privacy and security issues, 120 were about defamation-related matters and 75 were related to religious offences. One YouTube video was requested to be removed for hate speech, Google said.

The total number of items sought to be removed more than doubled from 255 from the preceding six-month period (July-December 2012).

Other reasons for removal included pornography, government criticism, impersonation, national security and copyright.

About India, the report said, "In response to a court order, we removed 360 search results. The search results linked to 360 web pages that contained adult videos that allegedly violated an individuals personal privacy."

In terms of request for user data, the US topped the chart with a total of 7,969 data requests and Google complied in 90 percent of those cases.

Overall, Google received more than 20,938 requests for data from government entities across the globe related to 34,614 accounts In the first half of 2012.

The other major countries for such requests included Brazil (1,566), France (1,546), Germany (1,533) and Britain (1,425).

"The number of requests we receive for user account information as part of criminal investigations has increased year after year. The increase isn¿t surprising, since each year we offer more products and services, and we have a larger number of users," it said.

Google said this statistics includes court orders and requests from other officials and police.

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