Government Asks YouTube To Pull Down 135 Videos

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The UK government is increasingly asking YouTube to block videos for security reasons, Google report says

The British government demanded the removal of 135 videos from Google’s YouTube service in the first half of 2011 due to alleged national security threats, the search engine operator has revealed.

The figures are found in Google’s latest Transparency Report, which is published twice a year, detailing governments’ influence on the information available via Google’s services.

Rise in requests

Google said there had been a 71 percent rise in the UK government or police’s requests to remove content between the first half of 2010 and the first half of 2011. A total of 220 YouTube videos were requested to be removed due to issues such as privacy, security or hate speech.

Overall British authorities demanded the removal of 333 items across all of Google’s services in the first half of this year. That figure is up from 156 items in the previous six months. Aside from YouTube the requests covered search results, blogs and other services.

Google said it fully or partially complied with 82 percent of the requests from the British government, police and courts.

In addition, UK authorities demanded private information about 1,443 British users or accounts in the first half of 2011, Google said.

Google said the report, first published in 2009, is intended to highlight government censorship activities.

“By showing traffic patterns and disruptions to our services, and by sharing how many government requests for content removal and user data we receive from around the world, we hope to offer up some metrics to contribute to a public conversation about the laws that influence how people communicate online,” said Google senior policy analyst Dorothy Chou in a statement. “We hope others join us in the effort to provide more transparency, so we’ll be better able to see the bigger picture of how regulatory environments affect the entire Web.”

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