By Shaun Nichols

Google has reported a 71 per cent increase in UK government requests to remove items from its search and web services properties over the course of 2011.

The company’s latest transparency report said that Google received 44 requests from the UK government over the first half of the year, the majority relating to YouTube, where police and other government groups asked for the removal of 220 videos.

The report revealed that 135 videos were taken down on the grounds of national security, and 61 over “privacy and security” complaints.

Privacy and security also led to the takedown of 67 Google image entries in the UK, along with 43 web search results and two Blogger entries.

The takedowns represent an increase over the second half of 2010, during which Google reported just 153 takedown requests. Overall numbers for 2010 were greatly skewed by a major government takedown in which more than 93,300 AdWords entries were taken offline.

In the US, Google received 757 takedown requests across its sites and services, up 70 per cent from the second half of last year. More than half were from Google Groups, where the company removed 379 pages deemed defamatory.

US authorities also called for the removal of 113 videos from YouTube, including several documenting alleged police brutality which Google refused to take down.


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