Google puts out transparency reports every few months. One disturbing trend came out in the previous report was that India has 49% increase in the number of removal requests made by government agencies. The latest report shows that 86% of the removal requests by India are without a court order.
Worrying trends of Internet Censorship?
Content removal requests are not really a big issue as such. Majority of them are for copyright infringement. But these are numbers collected about requests made only by government agencies (eg: Police, courts). Usually in such cases government agencies approach the courts to block a website or webpage before sending a removal notice to Google.
The current trends shows that 86% of such requests are made without a court order. One would think that such urgency of getting items removed might be predominantly matters of national security or hate speech. That is not the case as 35 out of 64 of these requests which are without court order in the past 6 months are categorized under “Defamation” and not other more serious issues like hate speech, impersonation, privacy and security.
This is a major worrying sign as only countries with a high level of internet censorship actually try and remove content online requiring court orders.
What are your views on internet censorship in India? Do drop in your comments.