Every six months or so, Google updates its Transparency Report, which shows requests for content removal from governments. While the number of requests globally has gone up, Australian government agencies and courts were much less active.
In the most recent report, which covers requests from January to June 2012, the Australian government asked for just 92 items to be removed. For the previous half-year, the number was substantially higher at 646.
80 of the requests were as a result of a court order, while the other 12 were direct requests from agencies. The vast majority of court requests (90 per cent) related to privacy and security, with just 4 per cent relating to copyright. Google complied with only 15 per cent of those requests. Among those it didn’t accept? “We received a request from a state government agency to remove a YouTube video of statements made against members of law enforcement. We did not remove content in response to this request.” As you can see in the graph, Google’s compliance rate has steadily dropped since peaking in mid-2010.
Worldwide, Google received 20,938 requests for information from 34,614 accounts. Google is one of the few organisations to disclose all requests of this nature; Twitter also has a similar bi-annual report.