Exceeding the quantum set in recent years, the Indian Government’s thirst for surveillance is on the rise. A recent revelation by the search giant Google puts the number of requests for information about users & to take down content on a steady rise.
Google’s ‘Transparency Report’ shows that the United States still leads with a total of 7,969 data requests in various forms. Coincidentally, Google has been quite compliant & towed the Government’s line for about 90% of the cases. India, on the other hand made slightly more than 2300 requests , but still was the second most demanding country. However, in its case, Google appeared far more adamant & agreed to take down content in 64% of the cases.
Why the skewed partiality?
According to Google’s statistics, majority of the data take-down requests were pertinent to official court orders as well as requests from officials or police. These were closely followed by cases involving defamation, privacy and security. However, Google also fielded requests for data removal on the grounds of it being offensive (pornography / hate speech), identity theft (impersonation), copyright issues & matters involving national security. This is where the ambiguity is at the highest.
Interestingly, Google revealed that many people even went as far as forging court orders for content removal & hence it did not comply with the cases as they required, “legitimacy of the documents” to be established.
Google’s Transparency Report has been one of the most important catalogs exhibiting Government’s machinery & sometimes its high-handedness. Time & again, the company has offered such insights & exposed the way Government’s growing demands of data to be taken down. Following Google’s initiative, other web-based companies that rely on user input have begun sharing their experiences with the iron-hand of the Government. In recent months companies like Dropbox, LinkedIn, Sonic.net and Twitter have begun to share their statistics too, revealed Google’s Senior Policy Analyst Dorothy Chou & she is optimistic about awakening of the crowd, “Our hope is that over time, more data will bolster public debate about how we can best keep the internet free and open.”
Do you think Governments are right in ordering removal of content on the supposedly free & fair internet?
Image Courtesy | codenametech