Does Google censor the internet?

June 19, 2012

The answer is “yes.” The evidence for this comes from a report prepared by Google itself, which will be released next week. According to the Wall Street Journal, the report shows that:

Google received more than 1,000 requests from governments around the world in the second half of last year to take down items such as YouTube videos and search listings, and it complied with them more than half the time, according to information provided by the company.

One example of the sort of censorship Google engages in concerns a request by the Thai government to remove YouTube videos insulting the monarchy, a crime under Thai law. Google restricted or partially restricted all 149 YouTube videos identified by Thai authorities as insulting to the monarchy.

While Google is admitting that it complied with 68% of formal government requests to remove content, the actual number of instances of internet censorship could be much higher. And the question arises of whether Google is also removing content at the request of non-governmental bodies.

According to the WSJ, a senior policy analyst for Google allegedly claimed that Google must comply with government requests to continue doing business in those countries. So, for purely business reasons, it seems that Goggle’s philosophy has shifted from “Don’t be evil” to “See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil.”



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