Both democratic and authoritative countries send takedown requests to Google

The most common gateway to information on the internet namely Google is on the receiving end from various governments – the ones democratically or otherwise elected. When it comes to not taking criticism most governments behave the same. Google has released new data for its Transparency Report, which provides details of government requests to takedown content across the company’s websites and services.

For starters – A takedown request is sent by users to websites to remove content (text, video, photo, audio) if they find it objectionable. The definition of the word ‘objectionable’ varies person to person, government to government.

Lion pinned down. Source:

Govts are trying to pindown publishers. A lion pinned down ‘momentarily’. Photographer: Joseph Scherschel

The most popular category of takedown requests are for political content on YouTube. When compared with the period Jan-Jun 2011 there has been a 49% increase in takedown requests from India. Surprisingly takedown requests from US were up by 103%.

India does not have a very high internet penetration but highest number of takedown requests came from India (96). A new-found drive to ‘clean up’ India’s cyber space by the government of India is clearly seen. According to the June 2012 issue of Outlook magazine,

Cyber Law has come of age in India. With Net penetration and cyber crime on the rise, it’s a legal stream in making. With the government hellbent on policing the Net, here is your chance to make money from the litigation that is bound to follow.

One should not blame the governments for every takedown request. Majority of the takedown requests from UK was terrorism related which we all would agree should be removed.

Personally I don’t have a problem with valid takedown requests. What hurts and frustrates you is when the authorities are not willing to help us identify what is offensive in a particular article. One has to keep guessing.

Many politicians, especially the small time ones, are getting smarter by the day. They are using the route directly to bring down content.

With several elections slated to be held in India until 2014 content providers and Google can expect many more takedown requests.


  1. I am 100 pc with you on this issue when you said “authorities are not willing to help us identify what is offensive in a particular article.” It’s not just the government officials who do these.

    I too have experienced this sort of requests on many occasions as I have several news sites besides by personal blog. There was a time when Nithyananda’s supporters from Chennai sent me what were supposedly legal notices via email which I eventually ignored. The issue eventually fizzled out …they must be tired of sending useless threats 🙂

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