As the world’s largest search engine, Google has set itself up to be the world’s gatekeeper, coworker, study partner, navigator, and co-conspirator… That’s a lot of pressure! While Google seems to do a pretty good job at… its job…everyone is a critic and there is always room for improvement.

For example, you’d think the world’s phone book would do more to prevent people from looking up something like their local terrorist organization. As a matter of fact, if you were to enter “How can I join” into Google in the UK you would get autocomplete suggestions such as, “the police,” “the illuminati,” and “a union.” As late as Feb. 5, the fourth suggestion would have actually been suggested “ISIS”. Google was not taking any proactive measures to filter those searches. Google did however remove the search suggestion within a matter of minutes after the BBC came calling asking a bunch of questions.

On the other hand, sometimes Google stands up for itself and decides to keep its controversial content indexed. Critics of Google from all around the world are slowly inundating Google’s legal department with both formal and informal requests to remove indexed content. Google is actually on pace to receive nearly ten thousand content removal request by government agencies, lawyers, and judges in 2015.

You might also be interested in knowing that due to the staggering amount of request coming from a select few countries, Google publishes the number of removal requests and the number of times Google complied with those requests. Google’s FAQ states, “We disclose the number of requests we receive from copyright owners and governments to remove information from our services. We hope these steps toward greater transparency will help inform ongoing discussions about the appropriate scope and authority of content regulation online.”

One amusing example of Google’s compliance rates would be Japan’s. From July to December of 2013, Google complied with Japan’s government agencies and/or law enforcement only 8% of the time. Meaning, 92% of Japan’s requests were denied for reason of freedom of speech.

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In the end, Google will never be able to make everyone happy. I for one am happy that Google seems to be acting on the side of liberty.

Below is a list of the most censored countries in the world (According to the number of content removal request filed with Google) 

#1 – Brazil

There were 128 court-ordered requests for data to be removed. Google complied with 69 percent of these requests. A total of 397 items were requested for takedown via court order.

In addition, 66 executive requests were made for another 157 items to be removed, 26 percent of which Google complied with.

#2 – The United States

There were 117 court-ordered requests for a total of 3,851 items to be removed. Google complied with 40 percent of these requests.

In addition, 70 executive requests were made for 2,341 items to be taken down, 44 percent of which Google complied with.

#3 – Germany

There were 60 court-ordered requests for data to be removed. Google complied with 80 percent of these requests. A total of 1,304 items were requested for takedown via court order.

In addition, 43 executive requests were made for another 418 items to be removed, 72 percent of which Google complied with.

#4 – Argentina

There were 39 court-ordered requests for data to be removed. Google complied with 97 percent of these requests. A total of 247 items were requested for takedown via court order.

In addition, 7 executive requests were made for another 19 items to be removed, 86 percent of which Google complied with.

 #5 – Turkey

There were 22 court-ordered requests for data to be removed. Google complied with 64 percent of these requests. A total of 104 items were requested for takedown via court order.

In addition, 23 executive requests were made for another 70 items to be removed, 48 percent of which Google complied with.

#6 – Italy

There were 20 court-ordered requests for data to be removed. Google complied with 70 percent of these requests. A total of 45 items were requested for takedown via court order.

In addition, 8 executive requests were made for another 51 items to be removed, 50 percent of which Google complied with.

#7 – Spain

There were 18 court-ordered requests for data to be removed. Google complied with 78 percent of these requests. A total of 24 items were requested for takedown via court order.

In addition, 25 executive requests were made for another 283 items to be removed, 8 percent of which Google complied with.

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