Russia leads the world in one thing – number of content-removal demands to Google

China still in the toilet for internet freedom with 'draconian prison terms for online dissent'


Google has published its semi-annual set of stats revealing how many content takedown requests it receives from courts and governments worldwide.

The tech giant said in a blog post it is open to takedown requests but vets them to ensure a local law has been violated.

"Because we value access to information, we work to minimize over-reaching removals whenever possible by seeking to narrow the scope of government demands and ensure that they are authorized by relevant laws," said David Graff, Google's veep of Trust & Safety.

The Chocolate Factory reports separately on content-removal systems established by various governments, such as the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) in the US or the Right to be Forgotten included in the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the EU.

According to the new data dump, the first half of 2021 (January through June) had the largest ever number of government takedown requests, and Google approved more than ever before.

The top countries by volume of requests were Russia (18,841), India (1,586), South Korea (1,297), Turkey (1,063) and Pakistan (883). By volume of items, the top countries are Indonesia (254,461), Russia (205,802), Kazakhastan (61,669), Pakistan (24,297), and South Korea (20,967).

But Google wants you to know it's not just them with record high requests. Research organisations like non-profit institute Freedom House report similar trends on all online platforms.

Freedom House said global internet freedoms declined this year for the 11th consecutive year. The worst deteriorations on their list occurred in Myanmar, Belarus, and Uganda, with Myanmar taking the largest hit since the org's "Freedom on the Net" report began.

China ranked as the worst environment for internet freedom for the seventh year in a row with "draconian prison terms for online dissent, independent reporting and mundane daily communications." COVID-19 remains one of the most heavily censored online topics in the Middle Kingdom.

Meanwhile, 48 countries pursued new rules for Big Tech. "With a few positive exceptions, the push to regulate the tech industry, which stems in some cases from genuine problems like online harassment and manipulative market practices, is being exploited to subdue free expression and gain greater access to private data," wrote Adrian Shahbaz and Allie Funk, describing the think tank's 2021 research. ®

Similar topics


Other stories you might like

  • Prisons transcribe private phone calls with inmates using speech-to-text AI

    Plus: A drug designed by machine learning algorithms to treat liver disease reaches human clinical trials and more

    In brief Prisons around the US are installing AI speech-to-text models to automatically transcribe conversations with inmates during their phone calls.

    A series of contracts and emails from eight different states revealed how Verus, an AI application developed by LEO Technologies and based on a speech-to-text system offered by Amazon, was used to eavesdrop on prisoners’ phone calls.

    In a sales pitch, LEO’s CEO James Sexton told officials working for a jail in Cook County, Illinois, that one of its customers in Calhoun County, Alabama, uses the software to protect prisons from getting sued, according to an investigation by the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

    Continue reading
  • Battlefield 2042: Please don't be the death knell of the franchise, please don't be the death knell of the franchise

    Another terrible launch, but DICE is already working on improvements

    The RPG Greetings, traveller, and welcome back to The Register Plays Games, our monthly gaming column. Since the last edition on New World, we hit level cap and the "endgame". Around this time, item duping exploits became rife and every attempt Amazon Games made to fix it just broke something else. The post-level 60 "watermark" system for gear drops is also infuriating and tedious, but not something we were able to address in the column. So bear these things in mind if you were ever tempted. On that note, it's time to look at another newly released shit show – Battlefield 2042.

    I wanted to love Battlefield 2042, I really did. After the bum note of the first-person shooter (FPS) franchise's return to Second World War theatres with Battlefield V (2018), I stupidly assumed the next entry from EA-owned Swedish developer DICE would be a return to form. I was wrong.

    The multiplayer military FPS market is dominated by two forces: Activision's Call of Duty (COD) series and EA's Battlefield. Fans of each franchise are loyal to the point of zealotry with little crossover between player bases. Here's where I stand: COD jumped the shark with Modern Warfare 2 in 2009. It's flip-flopped from WW2 to present-day combat and back again, tried sci-fi, and even the Battle Royale trend with the free-to-play Call of Duty: Warzone (2020), which has been thoroughly ruined by hackers and developer inaction.

    Continue reading
  • American diplomats' iPhones reportedly compromised by NSO Group intrusion software

    Reuters claims nine State Department employees outside the US had their devices hacked

    The Apple iPhones of at least nine US State Department officials were compromised by an unidentified entity using NSO Group's Pegasus spyware, according to a report published Friday by Reuters.

    NSO Group in an email to The Register said it has blocked an unnamed customers' access to its system upon receiving an inquiry about the incident but has yet to confirm whether its software was involved.

    "Once the inquiry was received, and before any investigation under our compliance policy, we have decided to immediately terminate relevant customers’ access to the system, due to the severity of the allegations," an NSO spokesperson told The Register in an email. "To this point, we haven’t received any information nor the phone numbers, nor any indication that NSO’s tools were used in this case."

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021