There is no denying that the new wave of technology and how much information that is on the web scares the crap out of the Government, leading them in a more authoritarian state. Google has just released another yearly Transparency Report that has shown that the tech giants have received 3,846 requests from Governments around the world asking them to censor material that they deem against their stance. This brings up the requests by 68% since the first half of 2012, only showing that the war on our freedom of information is one sided, with them wanting to know everything about us but we can't know anything about them.
Susan Infantino, who is Google's legal director released a statement in a blog post, “Over the past four years, one worrying trend has remained consistent: governments continue to ask us to remove political content.” The blog continued on stating, “Judges have asked us to remove information that’s critical of them, police departments want us to take down videos or blogs that shine a light on their conduct, and local institutions like town councils don’t want people to be able to find information about their decision-making processes.”
"She continued on the blog saying that, “These officials often cite defamation, privacy and even copyright laws in attempts to remove political speech from our services.”
Mike Harris is the head of advocacy at campaign group Index on Censorship made a public statement in saying, “Insulting a government official is being used as a pretext for takedowns,” and continued on saying. “The European Commission on Human Rights has made it very clear that politicians should be subject to wider criticism than ordinary individuals.” Also making a comment in saying, “We’ve got to be very careful. In the US, if we’re talking about the First Amendment, which is the crux of the US constitution, then everyone needs to be concerned about takedowns.”
“Increasingly, we live in a censorious climate where people see something they find offensive, and the first thing they do is ask for it to be taken down. Is there a culture of intolerance towards opinions and things we find offensive, that may not be illegal?”
In the United States requests are up 70% from last year, more notably Government agencies are asking for Google to remove content that shows their services doing unlawful things. Police stations have even asked for clips of police brutality to be removed in an attempt to “whitewash” their image. The war on one sided censorship is only going to heat up as the months pass, let’s just hope the big tech corporations are more concerned with being truthful with the people, instead of being in the back pockets of Governments.