India’s requests for Web censorship increase

Google Transparency Report accounts for a 90 per cent rise

April 27, 2013 04:58 am | Updated November 28, 2021 09:30 pm IST - CHENNAI

The Indian government nearly doubled its requests to Google for removal of content in the second half of 2012 as compared to the first six months, the seventh transparency report from the Internet giant has noted.

The report, published on April 25, noted that governments around the world are seeking censorship on the Web more than ever before. Between July and December 2012, Google had received more than 2,285 government requests to delete 24,149 pieces of information. In the first half of 2012, Google received 1,811 requests to remove 18,070 pieces of information.

The number of requests in the second half of 2012 went up by over 90 per cent compared to the first half of the year.

The Indian government was among 20 countries to request for the removal of the controversial film Innocence of Muslims from YouTube. (The video though listed is not available for streaming in India).

In its bi-annual report, Google said that during the “period of disturbance in the North-East region” last year, it received five requests from the Computer Emergency Response Team to remove content from Google+, a Blogger post, 64 YouTube videos, and 1,759 comments associated with some YouTube videos, that cited laws covering disruption of public order and ethnic offence laws.

“In response, Google removed a video for violating YouTube Community guidelines, and restricted 47 YouTube videos from local view, in addition to removing 12 YouTube comments and disabling local access to three Blogger blog posts that violated local laws,” the report said.

Google did not comply with all the requests it received. The report noted: “We received a request from a city Cyber Crime Investigation Cell to remove current depictions of disputed borders of Jammu and Kashmir in five Google Maps domains other than We did not change our depiction of the borders in response to this request.”

The report noted that there was a spike in requests from the Brazilian and the Russian governments. In Brazil, the requests coincided with the municipal elections where the government noted that several content had to be removed because they were violating the electoral code.

In Russia, the requests for removal of content followed the enactment of a new Internet blacklist law that allowed authorities to take down content without trial.

The latest edition of the transparency report — available at — also seeks to better classify the requests for removal of data with the introduction of new and pertinent categories like “bullying”, “hate speech” and “geographic dispute”.

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