Google removed six hundred forty YouTube videos for advocating terrorism during the last 6 months of 2011. The Association of Police Officers requested the removal of the videos. In addition, the Google Transparency Report revealed five YouTube users had their accounts terminated for violating the site’s Community Guidelines.
The transparency report also revealed that YouTube received 1,455 requests from the government of United Kingdom, asking the site to disclose user information from Google services or accounts. Google responded partially or fully with forty-six percent of these appeals.
The United States Federal Government has requested similar data from 6,321 users between the months of July and December 2011.
It is interesting that Google has approved more user data requests for the United States government than for other governments around the world. In fact, the company complied with 93 percent of all requests by US authorities. In addition, the United States government increased its user data requests from December 2010 to September 2011 by 37 percent. Google said that this increase “isn’t surprising, since each year we offer more products and services, and we have a larger number of users.”
Furthermore, in a Google blog post, the company said, “…this is the fifth data set that we’ve released. And just like every other time before, we’ve been asked to take down political speech.” Google mentioned that this is “alarming not only because free expression is at risk,” but “because some of these requests come from countries you might not suspect – Western democracies not typically associated with censorship.