When a Government asks for Google Search Results removal

Google often receives requests to remove content for different reasons and from different types of applicants, including courts and government agencies. Detailed data on what happens when a government asks for Google Search Results removal are presented in Google Transparency Report, which discloses data on requests for removal content received from the government in six-month periods, in order to promote debates on content regulation on the web.

Methods, categorization and reasons of government requests

Courts and government agencies may want some content removed from Google for various reasons, first of all for a violation of a local law: the most frequent requests are in fact accusations of defamations, incitement to hatred or violated rules regarding adult content, laws that vary according to the country/geographical area. In other cases, governmental requests may include court injunctions regarding the removal request, often not directed to Google. Moreover, some requests from state authorities simply require Google to review content to determine whether or not it violates community laws, the norms of Google or its products. Finally, one last type of content that government authorities often ask for to be removed is that which concerns national security: everything that therefore concerns political content, criticisms of the state, for which defamation, privacy and copyright laws are often called into play. Talking about how government requests are made, government authorities use different avenues and levels of state structure, such as court orders, requests by law enforcement, written requests from national and local government bodies and the forwarding requests from third-party users. 

Evaluating a government request: Google policy removals

Once a request for the removal of information from Google products is sent, it is carefully examined by their team to verify whether they violate a law among the above mentioned or a Google product rule and at the same time its legitimacy and completeness. Sometimes, written requests might not be specific enough for Google to know what the government wants it to remove; in these cases, Google asks for more information or it requires a further court order, which is relied upon to determine whether a claim or information is actually defamatory or not, according to local law. Even when you attach a court order to your request to provide evidence in support, it is not said that Google will take action on that request. Otherwise, it is possible that a failure by Google to take action will be explained by a demonstration of the removal already occurred by the owner of the content itself.