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What the French authorities request of Google

THE French authorities are up there with the best, or worst, of them when it comes to requests to reveal user information of Google's services.

The search engine produces a bi-annual transparency report and the latest figures show that France made 1,404 user date requests, which are requests for information about people involved in criminal cases using Google's products such as Gmail or YouTube.

Google said it fully or partially complied with 44% of data requests, saying a variety of government agencies, with different legal authorities, came forward with requests covering the period from July to December 2011.

Legal demands are also made of Google to remove items from its search results, various blog and forum posts and items such as YouTube videos.

Again between July and December 2011, Google received 12 court orders from France, covering 22 items on the internet, which it was asked to remove and they complied fully or partially with 67% of the requests.

A total of 19 other requests came from bodies such as the police, covering 39 different items, and here Google complied with 47% of the demands.

Overall, Google said it was seeing a worrying trend by western governments to attempt to censor the internet, especially in requests to remove political content.

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