Apparently, not only is Big Brother watching you, he also really would rather that you weren’t watching him online, thank you very much. According to Google’s most recent transparency report, the first half of 2011 saw a 70% rise in requests from U.S. government and law enforcement to remove videos from YouTube, as well as a 29% rise in the number of U.S. government requests for private data about Google users.
The new report makes it easier to find this information, with the creation of a special section that deals specifically with requests from government bodies around the world. “We’ve created Government Requests to show the number of government inquiries for information about users and requests to remove content from our services,” explains the opening of the report, adding “We hope this step toward greater transparency will help in ongoing discussions about the appropriate scope and authority of government requests.”
Google characterized the U.S. government and law enforcement requests as including “a request from a local law enforcement agency to remove YouTube videos of police brutality, which we did not remove and [separate] requests from a different local law enforcement agency for removal of videos allegedly defaming law enforcement officials.” None of the requests were complied with, according to the company.
Overall, the U.S. came third internationally in terms of all requests for Google to remove content, with 92 requests leading to 757 items removed, behind Brazil (224 requests, for 689 items) and Germany (125 requests, for 2405 removals).
Graeme McMillan is a reporter at TIME. Find him on Twitter at @Graemem or on Facebook at Facebook/Graeme.McMillan. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.