Google Gets More Than 1,000 Requests to Remove Content

Google Inc. (GOOG), owner of the world’s most popular Internet search engine, said it received more than 1,000 requests from governments to remove blog posts or videos from its service in the last six months of 2011.

The queries included court orders as well as requests from executives and police, and in some instances governments said the content violated local laws against hate speech, pornography, or defamation, Google said in a report.

“Unfortunately, what we’ve seen over the past couple years has been troubling, and today is no different,” the Mountain View, California-based company said on its blog, its fifth release of statistics on removal requests. “It’s alarming not only because free expression is at risk, but because some of these requests come from countries you might not suspect -- Western democracies not typically associated with censorship.”

For example, Google said Spanish regulators asked the company to remove 270 search results that linked to blogs and articles in newspapers referencing individuals and public figures, including mayors and public prosecutors.

Google complied with an average of 65 percent of court orders during the six-month period, and 47 percent of more informal requests, the company said.

To contact the reporters on this story: Lisa Rapaport in New York at lrapaport1@bloomberg.net; Brian Womack in San Francisco at bwomack1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Tom Giles at tgiles5@bloomberg.net

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