Every six months Google releases a transparency report which details take-down requests they have received from government agencies and courts around the planet.
This latest release has shown a sharp increase in the number of removal requests from almost all countries with the United Kingdom seeing an increase of 71% and the United States an increase of 70%.
Anyone who has taken the time to read the help articles on this site will know that it can be really difficult to get content taken down from the search results. Private info such as email addresses and phone numbers are just as difficult as defamation to get taken down.
It was nice to read that Google refused to remove a video showing police brutality after a request from a local law enforcement agency. They also refused to remove defamation of several police officers that appeared on YouTube.
Is Google’s Transparency Report Going Far Enough?
It’s interesting to see how many requests Google has received from all the different countries but does this report go far enough?
Take the YouTube video of police brutality as an example, I am delighted that they refused to take down this video and hide it from public view and even more pleased that they highlighted this request in the report. But why not go further and name the actual law enforcement agency that sent the request?
If you haven’t done so already head over to the Google Transparency Report and have a dig around, they provide a neat map with info about the removal requests and also a traffic report where they detail the blocks governments put on accessing certain sites such as YouTube.
For those of you who are unaware, Google processes most of the requests under local laws. They may decide to take down the content entirely or if the law is very localized they may restrict access to the material by local IP address blocking.
Generally anyone wanting to remove content from the search results would need to get in touch with the original site and ask them to first take down the offending material. There are a few exceptions to this rule:
- National security
- Copyright infringement
- Social security, credit card and government id numbers
- Website that contains a name, porn and is spam (spam by definition of Google’e webmaster guidelines)
- Image of handwritten signature
- Legal request by issue of court order or by proving a clear legal case
- Indecent images of Google
There are different policies for Google’s other products such as ads and YouTube.
Types of Content Google Will Not Remove
Google will comply with local laws but generally they don’t remove defamation or personally identifiable information such as telephone numbers or email addresses.
Please explore the pages on this site for help understanding the complex content removal policies of Google.