In its new Transparency Report, Google presents a look at the number and nature of the takedown requests it received from governments and copyright holders during the second half of 2011. In an accompanying blog post, the company states that current trends are "troubling," before stating that it complies with 65 percent of court orders and 47 percent of "more informal requests" to remove material from its search results (e.g., requests from police and executive branches of government). The report indicates that the number of US court and government requests to remove material more than doubled over the previous 6-month period — from 92 to 187. The number for the same period (July to December) in 2010 was 54.
Since May, the report now includes takedown requests from copyright holders and reporting organizations like Marketly. Also present are notes on specific removal requests by governments, including a gem from Passport Canada concerning video footage of a Canadian citizen urinating on his passport and flushing it down the toilet (Google didn’t comply).
The UK makes the highest number of information requests per capita
Statistics on the user data requests that Google receives from courts and government agencies are also available in the report, broken down by country. The top spot once again goes to the US, with 6,321 requests and a 93 percent rate of full or partial compliance on Google’s part. The country with the highest number of information requests per capita might surprise you, however — the United Kingdom makes 23 for every million citizens (the US is slightly lower, at just over 20), and gets compliance 64 percent of the time. In comparison, Canada posted a more restrained 1.18 per million.