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Google has published new numbers that show how governments around the world are asking to remove more content from services like YouTube than ever before.


Google(s goog) has published its latest Transparency Report and the results are not encouraging for free speech advocates: governments around the world are asking it to remove more content than ever before.

In the second half of 2012, the number of government requests to remove content from services like YouTube and Blogger increased from 1,811 to 2,285, and the number of items targeted for censorship increased from 18,070 to 24,179. As this screenshot shows, government requests have been rising steadily for years:

Google transparency screenshot

Many of these requests appear to have come from politicians who invoke defamation laws to remove content that was damaging or embarrassing. In a section of the report that breaks down requests by country, Google notes it received a request to remove a YouTube video that allegedly showed the President of Argentina “in a compromising position.” (Google did not comply with the request but did impose age restrictions…

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