Turkey led the pack with 1,673 requests from the authorities to remove content, nearly a ten-fold increase over the second half of last year; the upshot was directly tied to its protests last summer.

The USA was second with 545 requests for 3,887 items…

Other top nations were Brazil, Russia, and India.

These disclosures do not include any  legal demands for information from the National Security Agency (NSA). Those requests are made through the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (Fisa) court and the companies are legally barred from disclosing them.

The President’s report on the NSA just recommended that these be allowed to be reported.

In the US, most requests were petty. Most were denied.   Among those requests was one from a local law enforcement official to remove a search result linking to a news article about his record as an officer.   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,  These officials often cite defamation, privacy and even copyright laws in attempts to remove political speech from our services. In this particular reporting period, we received 93 requests to take down government criticism and removed content in response to less than one third of them. Four of the requests were submitted as copyright claims

Some may remember a local blog was temporarily removed at one point during this time frame.  🙂

From January to June the search giant received 3,846 government requests to remove content from its services – a 68% increase over the second half of 2012.  Turkey’s requests alone amount to nearly a ten-fold increase over the second half of last year.

While the information Google presents in their transparency reports is certainly not a comprehensive view of censorship online, it does demonstrate a worrying upward trend in the number of government requests, and underscores the importance of transparency around the processes governing such requests