Google has received government requests for removal of 358 items from its services, including items from YouTube and Orkut, during the January-June period, according to a report by the internet search giant.
As many as 255 item removal requests cited government criticism as the reason, said the Google Transparency Report. The government had asked Google to remove 236 items from Orkut and 19 items from YouTube for the same reason, it added.
Other reasons include defamation (39 requests), privacy and security (20 requests), impersonation (14 requests), hate speech (8 requests), pornography (3 requests) and national security (1 request).
As much as 51% of the total requests were partially or fully complied with, the report said.
The information assumes significance in the backdrop of the raging controversy over the screening of content on social networking sites. Communications and IT minister Kapil Sibal has asked them to screen derogatory, defamatory and inflammatory content about political leaders and religion.
The report added that "we declined the majority of these requests and only locally restricted videos that appeared to violate local laws prohibiting speech that could incite enmity between communities".
According to the report, Orkut topped the list of products for which content/item removal requests were received with 264 requests.
Google received requests from the state and the local law enforcement agencies to remove YouTube videos that displayed protests against social leaders or used offensive language in reference to religious leaders, the report said.
"In addition, we received a request from a local law enforcement agency to remove 236 communities and profiles from Orkut (Google's social networking site) that were critical of a local politician. We did not comply with this request, since the content did not violate our community standards or local law," it said.
During the January-June period, Google received 1,739 user data requests, which are governments requests for disclosure of user data from Google accounts or services. In addition, 2,439 users/account data access requests were made.
Google report statesd that 70% of the data requests have been fully or partially compiled with.
"The number of requests we receive for user account information as part of criminal investigations has increased year after year. The increase is not surprising, since each year we offer more products and services, and we have a larger number of users," the report said.