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Political pressure to remove content on the increase

Google has said that it is alarmed by the increasing demands of western governments for certain ‘political’ content to be taken off the internet.

The company has admitted that it always receives politically motivated requests to remove content but it said that the number now emanating from Europe was growing. It indicated that this was ‘troubling’ and an attack on free speech.

It singled out Spain whose Data Protection Authority applied 14 times to remove 270 searches in the last six months of 2011 as one of the main players. The requests centred on links to blogs and sites concerning public figures.

What Google is concerned about is the countries involved.

A spokesperson for the company said, ’Free expression is at risk here and we are concerned that some of the requests are coming from countries you would not expect – Western democracies’.

The Spanish authority also requested a number of YOUTUBE videos be removed.

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