MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., April 25 (UPI) -- Google says takedown requests by governments worldwide to remove content from its services have hit an all-time high.
Between July and December 2012, the search giant said, it received 2,285 government requests for the removal of content on its services, covering 24,179 separate pieces of content, a new record.
In the first half of 2012, Google received 1,811 requests to remove more than 18,000 pieces of content, CNET reported Thursday.
Part part of the company's Transparency Report launched three years ago, Google's latest release suggests attempts at political censorship are becoming an increasingly troublesome issue.
"In more places than ever, we've been asked by governments to remove political content that people post on our services," Google stated. "In this particular time period, we received court orders in several countries to remove blog posts criticizing government officials or their associates."
The requests showed a sharp increase in numbers from Brazil during municipal elections held last fall in that country, Google reported. Russia also requested many more takedowns, jumping from just six in the first half of 2012 to 114 in the second half.
Google said its YouTube service was the target for 20 countries asking requesting removal of clips from the movie "Innocence of Muslims."
Google scrutinizes all requests carefully to make sure they're legal and comply with Google's policies, the company's chief legal officer, David Drummond, said in a blog post last year.
To be considered, a request typically must be made in writing, signed by an authorized official, and issued under an appropriate law, he wrote.