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Interesting information was released at the beginning of this year by Google, in regard to the removal of defamatory or offending web pages from its products (Google Search, Blogger, You Tube and Google Earth in particular). The information is specifically focused on requests by governments and by national courts to Google to remove web pages.
It appears that following government requests and court orders from the UK, between January 2011 and June 2011, Google had removed no more than 11 items, most of which concerned defamation of character.
Other removals were affected following applications by undisclosed UK government agency, my wild guess is that it was the Office of Fair Trading. Google tends to ignore requests by police to remove content and it seems consumer issues tend to get better ‘treatment’.
All in all, it seems that over a six month period, Google had only removed a worryingly low amount of content. This is not surprising at all given my own experience in dealing with Google Inc.
Reblogged this on Yair Cohen's Business Talks.
My experience with Google contradicts this article. Simply as a citizen, unconnected to commercial gain, Google have removed 124 (at the last count) results from their SERPs at my request.
There is a relatively streamlined process available through their Webmaster service – and they demonstrated a thorough and fair approach.
Yair Cohen said:
Timothy, there are occasions where Google will remove certain material following requests by individuals. It depends on the circumstances of each matter and on the content presented. Unfortunately, this does not happen often enough and this is causing great deal of stress and beyond to many. Here is the link to the Google Removal Tool.
We recommend everyone who feels victim to unfair comments on Google sites to try and use it.
Google Web Page Removal Tool
I agree that it is a really frustrating process – seeking for authoritative help. Web-hosts are notoriously reluctant to remove content without formal, legal notice (expensive) – ICANN have a dispute procedure for certain instances (domain names registered in bad-faith) – but again – it’s neither guaranteed nor cheap.
Individual governments seem to be slowly turning to address the situation – but still in a very uncoordinated way.
Comparatively, the established media (newspapers, TV etc.) have managed to tread the tightrope between freedom of speech and defamation – with quite strict obligations.
I really don’t see why there should not be an equivalent – with incresed stringency – for the Wild West of the Internet.
I would love to see some authoritative body (such as ICANN) – step outside their ivory tower, and listen to the needs of those who use and enjoy the Internet as a superb facility – and who require, from time to time – quick, decisive and authoritative action.