Google: Officials In U.S. Sought To Remove Videos 'Defaming' Police

Google: Officials In U.S. Sought To Remove Videos 'Defaming' Police

Google's latest “transparency report,” released today, shows that the U.S. government requested the removal of 757 items of content in the first half of this year. Google complied with 63% of the government's requests.

Google doesn't offer many specifics about the material the government wanted to take down, except to note that among the items complained about were a YouTube clip showing police brutality and videos that “defamed” the police. The search giant rejected those requests.

Otherwise, Google only included information about the category of complaints. Overall, the government requested that Google take down 607 allegedly defamatory pieces of content and 80 items  that allegedly posed privacy or security concerns. The authorities also had some complaints about other subjects like copyright infringement, impersonation and hate speech.

Google is the only major Web company to release these kinds of statistics, so it's difficult to know how many requests the government made of other search engines or hosting services, and whether they complied. 

Certainly, however, the fact that at least one local police department tried to convince Google to take down a clip showing police brutality raises questions about how tax dollars are being spent.

U.S. authorities also requested data about users from Google on 5,950 occasions in the first half of this year. Google said it complied with 93% of the requests and turned over information about more than 11,000 users or accounts.


2 comments about "Google: Officials In U.S. Sought To Remove Videos 'Defaming' Police".
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  1. Chuck Lantz from, network, October 26, 2011 at 3:57 a.m.

    By a show of hands, how many readers of this article are hesitant to post a comment due solely to a fear, however slight, of being targeted by the government agencies involved?

  2. Bruce May from Bizperity, October 26, 2011 at 10:28 a.m.

    It's not a question of being afraid to post... it's a question of being powerless when others take down your content. Who elected Google to decide when and how to protect our Constitutional rights? What's worse, a public big brother or a private one? Google should not be in charge of deciding what speech should be protected. Defamation claims should be made against the person making the alleged defamation. We have decades of case law ahead of us that will better define what is and what isn’t protected speech in digital media (Search, social, SEO, and more). These issues need to be addressed by the court system by legitimate litigants, not by a private corporation that has decided to assume a quasi legal role as judge and jury for the rest of us.

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