Google Inc (NASDAQ: GOOG) updated its transparency report on Thursday with new numbers about the amount of requests the Mountain View, Calif.-based company receives from governments to remove content from its search index.
In the first half of 2013, Google received 3,846 government requests to remove a total of 24,737 pieces of content. That’s an increase of 68 percent from the previous six months. Google also reported that it responded to less of the requests than ever before.
Google said that the trend that has remained consistent since it launched the transparency report in 2010 is that governments continue to request the company to remove political content.
“Judges have asked us to remove information that’s critical of them, police departments want us to take down videos or blogs that shine a light on their conduct, and local institutions like town councils don’t want people to be able to find information about their decision-making processes,” Susan Infantino, the legal director at Google, wrote on the official Google blog. Infantino said that from January to June 2013, Google received 93 requests from governments using defamation, privacy and copyright laws to remove government criticism.
Infantino also reported that Google responded to less than one-third of these requests by removing content.
Google saw the sharpest increase coming from the Turkish government. Turkey submitted 1,673 requests, about 10 times more than the second half of 2012.
There was also an increase in requests coming from Russia since the new “blacklist law” took effect. Google said the amount of requests it received from Russian authorities in the first six months of 2013 more than doubled the amount it received in all of 2012.
“As we continue to add data, we hope [the transparency report] will become increasingly useful and informative in policy debates and decisions around the world,” Infantino said.
Google received 27 requests from an unidentified branch of the U.S. government to remove 89 apps from the Google Play store for violating trademarks. Google removed 76 of these apps. Google also received a request from a police officer to remove a news article about his record, but did not comply.
Overall, U.S. requests to remove content increased by 70 percent in the first half of 2013. You can read detailed notes about requests from around the world here.