We may think that we still live in the age of free information and freedom of speech, but we are pretty much not. Governments from practically all around the world have been increasing the amount of takedown requests they are sending to web companies like Google. Censorship has run rampant online, especially since the Arab Spring a few years ago. The ease of communication and organization online called many in the Middle East to action back when the Arab Spring began its uprising.
Google Says Government Takedown Requests Increased 68%Countries such as Turkey have been making increased requests to have Google take down sites, and remove them from search results. They do this in the wake of civil unrest and some weeks of rioting that they had earlier this year. But Turkey is not alone, even countries like the United States and Great Britain have been asking for information to be removed from the Internet.
Most of the information that has led to the spike in takedown requests has been political sites and political information from individuals and groups who wish to express view points contrary to their ruling political systems. Policital activists have turned to the Internet and social media sites to rally support and to share their view points. As governments scramble to have these things taken down, they show just how far they are willing to go to maintain their Authoritarian rule.
Never before has the Internet been so heavily monitored by governments, and the amount of censorship requests being submitted has reached an all time high. The world would probably have a different political climate if everyone was able to express their views online freely, as many think they should. We are not always talking about illegal activity or terrorists groups when we mention takedown requests, many of these are requests to remove sites that are set up to inform the public about misbehavior of their governments. Sadly, it appears that the governments do not want us all aware of what is going on in the world, and Google must comply to take these down even if they do not agree with doing so.
In the past, governments might hold a book burning to get rid of all written material that was contradictory to their planned way of thinking, and today a government takedown request equates to a digital version of this very shameful act.
Featured image from Wikipedia.
Google Says Government Takedown Requests Increased 68%.