Disagree with the government? You may have your content yanked from Google if governments around the world get their way in the latest round of removal requests attempting to censor government criticism.
The fate of over 24,179 pieces of content is caught in the struggle between Google and government entities, with the search juggernaut on the receiving end of 2,285 government requests to flush the content down the memory hole. Google states on its official blog that the content takedown requests are not only piling in at record levels, but they specifically demand the censorship of political content that criticizes the government or government officials.
In the post on their blog regarding censorship on the web and the increased number of takedown notices from government, the Google Public Policy post details:
“As we’ve gathered and released more data over time, it’s become increasingly clear that the scope of government attempts to censor content on Google services has grown. In this particular time period, we received court orders in several countries to remove blog posts criticizing government officials or their associates.”
What Google does not publicly announce, however, is what specific websites are being targeted. Obviously it’s most likely alternative news websites and blogs, but I can imagine major websites like Infowars, NaturalNews, Drudge Report, and others are listed among more than a few of these takedown demands. And how about Storyleak? With over several hundred thousand views on articles regarding the Boston Marathon drill that the mainstream media denies ever happened, it would not be surprising to find out that my work has been put on the chopping block by the government.
Perhaps what’s more important to know is whether or not some or any of these requests will be fulfilled by Google. Will Google openly take down certain government criticisms, and where is the line drawn?
Among the countries issuing requests were Russia and Brazil, where statistics released by Google highlight a specifically sharp rise in takedown requests. Unsurprisingly, the requests from these two countries doubled among municipal elections as politicians sought to remove negative press from the web.
The simple fact of the matter is that Google controls a large degree of what is seen on the web, with millions each day headed over to the search engine in order to find out more about a specific topic. In the event that Google begins serving these government takedown requests over government criticism, finding real information from alternative sources will be harder than ever.