Wednesday 21 February 2018

Google reveals YouTube terror crackdown

Christopher Williams

SCORES of terrorist videos have been removed from YouTube at the request of British authorities, Google has revealed.

In its Transparency Report, which is released twice a year, the web giant said it had received 135 requests from government and police to remove videos for “national security” reasons in the six months to the end of June.

This compares to just one similar request by United States authorities in the same period, and zero requests from British authorities during the previous six months.

Google was heavily criticised last year for hosting Islamic extremist material on YouTube, following the attempted murder of the Labour MP Stephen Timms.

He was stabbed at his constituency surgery in East London by a female al-Qaeda fanatic after she viewed online propaganda including the sermons of Anwar al-Awlaki, an American-born cleric who was killed by a drone strike in Yemen in September.

Google declined to comment on the apparent crackdown last night. A Home Office spokesman said the government on a national security matter.

The action drove a large increase in the total number of items that British authorities sought to censor. Excluding a one–off request from the Office of Fair Trading to remove tens of thousands of fraudulent adverts last year, it more than doubled from 156 to 333.

The requests were a combination of court orders and government or police requests. More than 200 targeted items on YouTube, with the remainder divided between web search results, blogs and other services.

Google said that overall it fully or partially complied with 82pc of requests.

It also revealed a small rise in the number of attempts to access user data by British authorities. Police and intelligence agencies made 1,273 requests during the six months to the end of June, compared to 1,162 in the previous period.

Google’s Transparency report, first prepared in 2009, has consistently shown that when population size is taken into account, British internet users are among the most likely in the world to have their data requested by authorities.

“By sharing how many government requests for content removal and user data we receive from around the world, we hope to offer up some metrics to contribute to a public conversation about the laws that influence how people communicate online,” said Dorothy Chou, a senior policy analyst at Google.

Promoted Links

Business Newsletter

Read the leading stories from the world of Business.

Promoted Links

Also in Business