Google: 'Government surveillance is on the rise'

By Sooraj Shah
14 Nov 2012 View Comments
An eye in close-up superimposted by a screen of random numbers

"We received a request from a local law enforcement agency to remove 14 search results for linking to sites that criticise the police and claim individuals were involved in obscuring crimes. In addition, we received a request from another local law enforcement agency to remove a YouTube video for criticising the agency of racism. We did not remove content in response to these requests," the report said.

Further reading

Google said that the total number of content removal requests it received in the UK increased by 98 per cent in comparison to the previous reporting period.

In a blog post, senior policy analyst at Google, Dorothy Chou, said Google's six transparency reports showed a clear trend, that "government surveillance is on the rise".

She went on to say that the information that the tech giant discloses is only an "isolated sliver" showing how governments interact with the internet, as other technology and telecommunications companies do not disclose all of the requests they get.

"But we're heartened that in the past year, more companies like Dropbox, LinkedIn, Sonic.net and Twitter have begun to share their statistics too. Our hope is that over time, more data will bolster public debate about how we can best keep the internet free and open," she said.

Last week, at a Westminster e-Forum, Facebook's director of public policy for UK and Ireland, Simon Milner, said the social media website is considering revealing the number of data access requests it gets from law enforcement agencies.

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