Google's biannual Transparency Report was updated yesterday and it has revealed some interesting information regarding requests to remove YouTube content as well as requests for user data from governmental agencies.
During the period of January 2011 to July 2011, Google reports that they received a request from a local United States law enforcement agency. The agency wanted Google to take down certain YouTube videos that depicted police brutality. Google says that they refused to remove the videos in question.
On a separate occasion, another law enforcement agency made multiple requests that Google remove videos "allegedly defaming law enforcement officials." They also refused to remove the content, which they file under "defamation requests."
Overall in the U.S., the number of requests to remove content from Google services increased by 70% when compared to the last period (July to December 2010).
Across the world, content removal requests increased in places like India, Poland, and the UK. The United Kingdom saw an increase in these requests comparable to what was seen in the United States (71%).
According to the raw data, U.S. governmental agencies filed the 3rd most requests for content removal with 92. This is behind Brazil (224) and Germany (125). Those 92 requests contained 757 actual items to be removed. Google complied with 63% of those requests.
On another front, user data requests increased by 29% from the last reporting period (in the U.S.). The United States had the most data requests and among those requests, the most users/accounts specified of any country on the report.
From January 2011 to June 2011, Google received 5,950 user data requests the encompassed 11,057 different users. Since Google just began disclosing the compliance rate of these requests, we now know that Google is handing over the data with relative certainty when it comes to us in the United States. During that period, Google complied with 93% of those 5,950 user data requests.
That was the highest compliance rate of any country listed in the report. On the flip side, Google received 42 user data requests from Russia and complied with exactly 0% of them.
Of course, the fact that Google refused to yank videos of police brutality and ones with so-called "defamatory content" is a big deal. Videos of police brutality have been talked about a lot lately, as many have emerged from the #OccupyWallStreet movements and become viral hits on YouTube.
Does anything surprise you about this transparency report? Let us know in the comments.