Google has been asked by a US law enforcement agency to remove several videos exposing police brutality from the video sharing service YouTube, the company has revealed in its latest update to an online transparency report.
Another request filed by a different agency required Google to remove videos allegedly defaming law enforcement officials. The two requests were among 92 submissions for content removal by various authorities in the US filed between January and June 2011. Both were rejected by Google along with 27 per cent of the submissions.
The IT giant says the overall number of requests for content removal it receives from governmental agencies has risen, and so has the number of requests to disclose the private data of Google users.
Commenting on the incident, Jim Killock, executive director of the Open Rights Group, points out that YouTube is a public platform and any steps to censor it should be backed with a court order.
“Police seem to be advising Google on what material might be breaking the law, and then Google decides to censor this material without a court order,” he said, stressing that a court appearance should be part of making such judgments.
Ultimately, public media seem to becoming more of a police tool to gather evidence. Killock recalled British Prime Minister David Cameron urging the news outlets to hand over material collected during the UK riots – both published and unpublished – to the police.
“It completely compromises the freedom of the media,” Killock told RT.