Rise in UK requests for Google content removal

Visitors below a Google banner at the Frankfurt Book Fair The rise in UK content removal requests outpaced many other European countries

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Google said it experienced a 71% jump in UK government and court requests to remove content from its web search, YouTube and other services.

The figure relates to the period between January and June this year compared to the previous six months.

The search site said it received 65 requests for a total of 333 items to be removed over the period.

The US company said it fully or partially complied with 82% of the demands.

Google said six of the requests related to videos on its YouTube site that raised national security concerns. Twelve were court orders linked to defamation, privacy and other issues.

The data was released as part of the firm's latest Transparency Report, which it publishes twice a year.

"As the report shows, we don't simply censor on request, we ensure there is a case for removal," said company spokesman Stephen Rosenthal.

Worldwide requests

The rise in the rate of UK requests outpaced many other countries.

Germany made 118 requests, a 6% rise over the previous period; France made nine demands, a 61% fall; and the US made 92 requests, a 70% rise.

"The government takes the threat of online extremist or hate content very seriously," said a Home Office spokesman.

"Where unlawful content is hosted in the United Kingdom, the police have the power to seek its removal and where hosted overseas, we work closely with our international partners to effect its removal."

Elsewhere, Google said it rejected a request to remove 236 communities and profiles from its Orkut social network in India after complaints that they were critical of a local politician.

However, it did restrict users in Turkey from being able to see material about the private lives of political officials. It also restricted access to 225 YouTube videos which allegedly insulted Thailand's monarchy, an illegal act under local laws.

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