Every six months, Google releases a Transparency Report to show how many government requests it receives to take down content or provide information about its users.
Google complies in a majority of cases, but not all. For example, the company writes that it refused a law enforcement agency request to remove a YouTube video showing police brutality.
Governments around the world more and more are asking Google for information, a trend the Internet giant says highlights the need for new rules governing online data.
In the first six months of 2011, government agencies in the United States, for example, made 5,950 requests for information from 11,057 accounts at Google and its video service YouTube, according to numbers released on Tuesday.
That’s an average of 31 requests a day, and amounts to a 29 percent increase over the 4,601 requests of the previous six months. Google says it complied with 93 percent of the 2011 requests.
For the first time, Google also released data on the number of times foreign governments asked it to remove online content. Brazil topped the list with 224 requests, while Germany, which has strict hate-speech laws, asked Google to remove 2,405 separate items. Google complied with most of the requests from both countries.
From January to June 2011 in the United States, there were 92 requests to remove 757 items. Google says it complied with 63 percent of those inquiries.