Google Censorship


Reports came out yesterday in the UK covering Google’s newest release of their “Transparency Report.”  Turkey has been known for it’s total lack of press freedom, and now reports show the U.S. is approaching the same leagues as Turkey.

The report was presented on the blog of Susan Infantino, the Legal Director of Google.  She and her legal team launched the annual Transparency Report three years ago, in hopes it would “shine light on the scale and scope of government requests for censorship and data around the globe.”

From January to June 2013, the search giant received 3,846 government requests to remove content from its search services, which represents a 68% increase over the second half of 2012.

Google’s Legal Director, Susan Infantino, goes on: “Over the past four years, one worrying trend has remained consistent: governments continue to ask us to remove political content.  Judges have asked us to remove information that’s critical of them, police departments ask us to take down videos or blogs that shine a light on their conduct, and local institutions like town councils don’t want people to be able to find information about their decision-making processes.”

“These officials often cite defamation, privacy, and even copyright laws in attempts to remove political speech from our services,” says Infantino.

One example is a request from a UK law firm representing a former member of Parliament to remove a preview from Google Books that allegedly defamed the MP by suggesting he was engaged in illegal activity.  The preview was removed.

“We have removed content in response to less than one third of requests,” Infantino adds.

From January to June 2013, the following countries made the most requests to remove content:

  • Turkey (1,673 requests detailing 12,162 items)
  • United States (545 requests detailing 3,887 items)
  • Brazil (321 requests detailing 1,635 items)
  • India (163 requests detailing 714 items)
  • Russia (257 requests detailing 277 items)
  • UK (117 requests for 556 items)
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Sonya Sandage is a financial industry professional, and has worked for the nation's largest banks and investment wirehouses for 12 years as Private Wealth Manager. Originally from Florida, and a graduate of UF, she now resides in Washington, DC. Her goal is to get more Americans interested and engaged in their nation's governance.

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  • 1Conservative1

    It’s just the shepherd herding the sheep. Rewriting history books is also something they fancy.

  • kev i. AB

    I can feel it coming in the air tonight.

  • bobfairlane

    Down the Memory Hole

  • C

    And that’s how it begins, as requests and favors. Eventually they become demands, and then made punishable by law if even said at all.

    We call it “censorship.”

  • Johnney Appleseed

    In the words of that Japanese conservative politician that so eloquently put it when he flipped out and had to be restrained a few weeks ago: “THIS IS HOW THE REIGN OF TERROR BEGINS!!!”

  • me

    I’d like to see the list of 4000 items with links to their corresponding pages

  • disbeleife

    Sick fuks, should all be prosacuted for violatations of the constitution. All these control freaks sering their masters.
    Collectivism and corpratism. If this isnt stopped and reversed ypur goimg to see some realy nasty shit,
    Zero transparency, total control grid
    Habitual lying
    Habitual law breaking
    Habitual assault on rights
    Habitual deconstruction of our constitution and everything in shrined in our founding documents.
    It all means 1 thing.
    Slavery and oppression.


    • Doug Bo

      All I want for Christmas is for you to pick up a dictionary, and practice your spelling. Holy crap, you made my head hurt trying to read your comment. How old are you, 6?

      • no use for a name

        So you read this and I’m sure you’ve read other stories about our fascist government…and what bothers you bad enough to comment is this dude’s lack of spelling prowess. While you grabbing him a dictionary, hit yourself, please.

        • Doug Bo

          Hey, you didn’t mention rapists, child abusers, and drug dealers… That must mean you’re not bothered by them. You heathen.
          Moron, that I chose to leave the comment I left is not in any way, shape, or form even remotely tantamount to saying that I’m not bothered by our government. False equivalency, for the win.*yawn*

        • Tom Noel

          Fascist society? Not! And his inability to form a normal sentence shows his lack in education. It makes taking his comments seriously, really hard to do. Educated people show they are educated by at least being able to spell out what they have to say and structuring a sentence in such a manner that a 3rd grader can understand it. Yeah, you got it right. I think you need to seriously look up the true meaning of fascism. You are so far off base that it’s shameful. It embarrasses me as an American to know that people with your lack of reality live among us. And what embarrasses me even more is knowing that people like you vote for the representatives that do the work of governing in Washington D.C. Perhaps you should consider getting a formal education, learn how to read a dictionary, and pay more attention to the reality of what is actually being done in this country. Fascist is the last thing the U.S. is. We are a federalist republic. We aren’t even a true democracy. But most Americans don’t know that either. Take the time to look up how our form of government was actually designed. Study it. Then come back and tell me how we are a fascist society. Our government is actually working exactly as it was designed to work. The part that sucks is that in its grand design, Gridlock was destined to happen along the way. Limited power over 3 branches in order to control the balance of power can result in exactly the type of gridlock we are experiencing now. But you wouldn’t know that because you’re too caught up in speaking out against what you don’t even know.

      • Tom Noel

        noun: fascism; noun: Fascism; plural noun: Fascisms
        an authoritarian and nationalistic right-wing system of government and social organization.

    • Tom Noel

      I’m thinking YOUR level of education is quite low. You should really
      take the time to do some REAL research on the the reality of what is
      happening NOW! You seriously need to stop listening to the conspiracy
      theorists. You’re going to live your whole life in fear and miss out on
      the joys of what life really has to offer. Bunker down big boy! They’re coming for your guns. They’re coming for your religious freedom. They’re stopping you for posting bull crap like this. Because we are a fascist society!! Yeah, you’re so oppressed! Get a grip their pal. Nobody is coming for your guns. Nobody is taking away your 1st amendment rights either. If they were you wouldn’t be writing what you’re writing. There is corruption in Washington D.C. There has been corruption in Washington D.C. since the beginning of this country. Yet, somehow, we are the same country we have been since March 4, 1789. As a matter of fact, we have actually seen improvements. Not had things taken away. Tell me one of your rights that has been taken away from you. ONE! It sickens me to see this garbage being spewed all over the internet (which by the way is the only reason you see so much b.s. in the first place). I wake up in a society in which I am free to go where I want, live where I want, work where I want, speak how I want (within the limits of the freedom of speech clause), and practice what ever religion I want. I can sleep with whom I want. I can make as much money as I want and I don’t get arrested for any of this. Yet, we are a fascist society? If you believe this, you are a special kind of stupid and it explains your inability to spell out the message you have posted here. Get your head out of Fox News’s ass. It’s making your breath stink, and we can smell it when you speak out with the crap you spout!

      • g.johnon

        here is a nice tip of the iceberg re: the rights we have lost since 9-11.


        • Balto2

          Thank you g. Johnson. What you have posted is so true and people need to get their heads out of the sand and see what is really going on. I live in a state and the 5th Amendment does not protect anyone due to the boundaries and where located. Also, many other states, Florida is also not a safe place due to the ocean around the peninsula, leaving little if none as safe space. This rule reaches within the states where there are open or national borders by 100 miles and the DHS can arrest and contain us for no reason and we have no recourse for attorneys or hearings. We can be detained for life if the government decides that. God help us and God Bless America, so please come back and save us from our Government that is so vile and destructive.

      • justin

        dude your trying to hard to get others to share in your own opinion. the facts are every years since our government was founded a law rule regulation has in some way limited our rights as out lined in the constitution. lets take guns for example. in every one of our rights in the bill of rights it says “NO LAW SHALL ABRIDGE” TO ME ABRIDGE MEANS CHANGE INCRESE OR LESSEN. SO BASICALLY ANY THING THAT CHANGES IT!!!! NO means no don’t it???if this were rape then i could use what the politians do and explain how it was not even though the fact is it was. then basically threaten them with there job security and reputation and they’d rule in my favor. THAT ISN’T RIGHT!!! NO MEANS NO!!! int the bill of rights it say every citizen has the right to bear arms( arms are weapons) so yes this means a nuke is a weapon and ya it does mean a citizen can own one. but can they afford or have acses to by one is a different issue. but assault rifles and such should definately not be banned if the government is allowed to have them(and have the capabilities not they they would but i do see the government using those type of weapons against citizens) a felon is still a citizen!! and i’m sure our fore fathers were quite smart. had they not wanted criminals to not have arms they would have mad a rule for it. the fact is in their time our founders were criminals them selves!!! even having a discusion on forming our government was a criminal act!! so had they not given this right to even the criminals they would not have had the right to bear arms!! but ya that is just one example. freedom of speech basically says we have the right to say what we want to say. all this defamation of character and this bs that we can be punished for what we say is totally against the very meaning of what freedom is in our country. JUST BECUASE YOUR DON’T LIKE OR ARE SO IMATURE THAT YOUR BUT HURT ABOUT WHAT IS SAID. DOES NOT GIVE ANY ONE THE RIGHT TO PUNISH THEM FOR WHAT IS SAID OR TO EVEN KEEP WHAT IS SAID FROM GETTING OUT!!! if your so but hurt about what is said then your recourse is to say what you want to say about it. knowledge is being informed about all aspect of a situation not just your personal beliefs. but the beliefs and fact of all not just the one in charge!!

        • guest

          I’v been reading your comments and right off the bat will say my grammer and spelling are bad . My comment is this the people in this country have sat on their butts and lost the right to prayer in school,the right to even show religious items in publc places because it might offend someone. We are letting the goverment take God out of everything. If it is demmed offensive to a few then then we cannt have it . Saw an article where the goverment was considering putting medication in some of our foods to lower cholestrol apparently we are costing them to much money. Also noted if you paid attention they keep changing the meaning of or unstanding of The Declaration of Independence . Or they just ignore it all together. Our goverment has become like a large octopus with way to many arms and they are into everything. This society has gotten so spoiled that as long as it doesnt interfear with the way we live we let things slide by. So when its to late we’ll turn and say What happened because we wont have any rights except to keep feeding this over large abomination that is suppose to serve us not the other way around. A lot of very brave people died to give us these rights and people need to wake up and start paying attention. A whole we need to start standing up and learning to say NO you will not do this.

      • Mike Knox

        you appear to be suffering from a severe case of cognitive dissonance.

  • disbeleife

    Google however is a excellent example of what not to do.

    Once you give the state a inch, they expand it to the entire definition of the meaning.

    This is a eye opener for future corporation.

    If you give in, you are aiding and abeding with a system of deep corruption, lies, secrecy, cover ups, disapears.

    Maybe we can get lucky and stop this but i dont think so. No I think its going to have to run its course, untill it gets so bad people freak out in giant numbers and demand a end to all of it.
    All parties involved prosacuted and imprisioned.

    If not it going to realy suck being watched and data mined 24/7 from cradle to grave.

    Total 1984. The grim future fortold in 1984 is here.
    And its just getting started.
    In the next decade i forsee mass evacuatuons of people leaving the united states and giving up citizenship.
    Its allready started.

    • CaptainUSA

      Yeah some have ran. Others however have bought lots of Guns and Ammo. Remember when the delisted ammo sales? Record sales still happened.

    • Tom Noel

      Perhaps you should join them you paranoid puke. If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear.

      • g.johnon

        you are in way over your head tom. you may wanna check your meds.

  • Lloyd Rutledge

    Raw stats on . Google honored 45% requests from US, relatively low. (i) popup by US gives much explanation. The headline is technically wrong: the 3600 requests are court requests from which some but not all come from the government, and for a variety of reasons such as hate crimes.

    • Charlie

      Courts are government entities.

      • jack-Tarr

        And government entities are The Church’s possessions, Along with the Banks and Insurance companies. One big fkn monopoly game. Enjoy your chains, folalala. La la la la.

  • tiamariacat

    Like he said : ‘The only people that don’t want to disclose the truth, are people with something to hide.” And now they have Google to help them.

  • Cheryl Newcomb

    Fascist Book and Scroogle are nothing more than another arm of the Government.

  • Doc Martin

    Its the internet. Nothing is forever deleted. Someone somewhere has all of it saved just like the NSA.

  • Paul

    America is quickly becoming a fascist country.

    • CriticalThinking101

      It essentially already has…no one just wants to admit it. People still live in this fantasy that they are free because it makes them feel good.

    • Brian Hard

      clearly neither one of you understands the definition of fascism…

      • Jeff
        • Brian Hard

          funny i was going to share the very same wikipedia link. while our government does exhibit some tendencies that skew towards the fascist, its still like comparing apples and horses when you look at ACTUAL fascist countries (north korea as a prime, contemporary example, the nazi party in germany’s past probably being one of the best, althought the italians did it pretty well too around the same time). the state control of media in our country is one the most relaxed on the planet. period. it is impossible to dispute that. further evidence against the US being fascist iso ur move, albeit slowly, towards more socialistic approaches to governance and social welfare. while we still fall way behind most of the rest of the developed world when it comes to social protections, etc. were taking steps in the right directions, in some states more quickly than others, and slowly dragging the federal along with. its really easy to make it seem like the definition fits when you cherry pick single, or even fragments of, sentences that happen to fit and ignore all of the rest of the very lengthy explanation of fascism contained on wikipedia that show how far removed from fascism the US actually is.

          • Brian Hard

            as a final thought, if you truly believed that it was that fascist here, why are you still here? while its not as easy as it might seem to leave this country and live somewhere else, its certainly not impossible.

          • Qari

            The state OWNS the airwaves. There are 4-5 companies that own nearly all of the news outlets. Saying the state barely controls the media here is laughable.

            We have one of the biggest eugenics schemes in the world were encourage the poor to kill their unborn children because they are undesirable to society.

            Our government has allowed executive orders to become rule of law.

            Our foreign policy rhetoric is nationalist at the least. We are in a constant state of war. The difference of course, between fascists and Marxists is that the latter war a lot less.

            So why do we not leave? For the same reason Germans did not leave.. because it is their home, and the state is the invader.

          • AllSeasonRadial

            Okay, the State does not “own” the airwaves. They lease out the airwaves in the public interest. They’re like a property management firm working for a landlord (the Public). They govern the airwaves extremely transparently via the FCC; the heated discussion among broadcast engineers about FCC rules verifies that.

            Do they please everyone? Hardly. That still does not put “the government” in control of everything you see and hear.

          • Qari

            Of course not, but various governments have used this licensing power to threaten TV stations. It’s not direct control, but to call it free of control is a long shot. Worse still, there is a cartel there, and we can tell because 98% of all media outlets are owned by 5 people. Cartels always involve government collusion, and consequently support for the government from the media.


        “Fascist ideology consistently invokes the primacy of the state” about sums it up

      • dspringer57

        “harsh control or authority”…you think not???

        • Draken

          Compared to what?

      • g.johnon

        government intertwined with corporate. I think they understand it very well.

        • Draken

          Government intertwined with corporate is more socialism, maybe communism. Fascism is typically seen as anti-socialist / communist. Where the end result is the same the political theory is different.

    • g.johnon


      • Draken

        On a scale of 1 to 10 of fascism the US is maybe a 2. Yes we are closer to 10 then we were 20 years ago, but seriously if you have not already, try talking to people who have lived in a truly fascist country and you’ll see how far we have yet to go.

        I have a co-worker who grew up in East-Germany before the end of the Cold War. Talking to her is all I need to see how good we actually have it compared to the rest of the world.

        • reddragon1967

          East Germany was COMMUNIST. You people need to do some research before you comment.

          • Draken

            East Germany was a “Democratic Republic” officially speaking, what is your point? What one says they are, and what they actually are can be different. Hell Russian communism is not really even communism, if you really take the time to read up on political theory. If anything Russian communism is closer to fascism then true communism.

            So maybe East Germany is not the best example of a fascist county. However my overall point is still valid. We really do have it good in the US, and we shouldn’t lose sight of that.

            That said, just because we have it good does not mean that we should stop trying to make it better. I just wanted to highlight that things really could be a LOT worse, and we should be thankful for what we have, and not just focus on the bad all the time.

          • AllSeasonRadial

            Read what Spain was like under Franco for a better understanding of modern fascism.

    • reddragon1967

      Not fascist, even worse, a communist dictatorship!

  • Wade Dewell

    @paul, america is a facist country, it is indeed the greatest evil that has existed since adolf hitler. the people and land are good but the establishment is not. please rise up fight back and win, the world is in great peril as long as the current us system and regime is in place

    • Tom Noel

      You my friend are a paranoid moron!

      • g.johnon

        actually tom, you need more information and less of a propensity to belittle those who make you uncomfortable.

      • Jerry Harlan

        You are a liberal. aka Nazi

    • Dave Mende

      Wade, If you read up on the latest history research, IHR Mark Weber, you will see A.Hitler was not ‘Evil’. Stalin, Roosevelt, and Churchill were evil. They gave US the War Nightmare we live in today. Thanks and enjoy your read.

      • reddragon1967

        Dave Mende, I could not have said it any better. When will the people wake up to the TRUTH about those evil scumbags Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin?

  • Faithkills

    As a journalist could you ask Google some questions? Foremost I would like to know what search engine they would suggest we use that doesn’t censor their results?

  • zh

    The best search engine is

    • g.johnon

      true enough, but in this case a moot point. while start pagedoes proxy for you so that your information cannot be gleened by google, it still uses google search and therefore, anything missing from google would be missing from a startpage search.

  • lcutler75

    ben swann,
    plz delete this article from yer site
    cool is the rule
    u.s. gvrnmnt

  • crosspatch

    This is yet another example of the bad reporting on this issue. Basically what it says is true but it is misleading. Never once does the article state that the US wanted political content removed. It says the US government wanted some content removed, then it says some governments want political content removed, and then it suddenly becomes the US government wanting political content removed. It doesn’t say that. Only the article headline says that. More misinformation/disinformation. The content being removed by US government is generally terrorist recruiting stuff.

    • LoneWiseMan

      I don’t care if it was “terrorist recruiting stuff,” it’s none of the gov’s business and a restriction of our freedom of speech (at least in America).

      • KalleP

        I expect most of the terrorist recruiting sites are US government honey-pots, seems a bit silly to take those down.

        Google loyalty is only to their shareholders. Governments loyalty is only to the self interest of the people who wield power (try to gain money) or hope to run for re-election. Note, citizens receive no loyalty.

        It seems almost pointless to ask Google to help remove search links, the sites still exist and other search engines will find them and the eventual exposure of the defamation and the missing search result will be twice as bad as the defamation alone.

    • Scotster

      How much they paying you?

    • StopShreddingMyConstitution

      “The content being removed by the US government is generally terrorist recruiting stuff.”

      That might be interesting if true–though not necessarily a compelling case to justify censorship considering the First Amendment Constitutional issues, and especially considering the overly broad metrics the government uses these days to define who might be a “terrorist”–BUT–all of that is moot anyway because you’re wrong.

      If you read Google’s transparency report, it is clear that most of the
      US requests gave defamation as the reason for the removal request. (As
      reflected in the quote from Susan Infantino in the article. Not the quote where she says it’s POLITICAL stuff being removed, I mean the other quote after that.)

      Did you read the transparency report from Google that’s linked in the article? For that matter, did you read the same article I did? Are you hoping people will read your misleading comment and accept your revised version of things? (Reminds me to remind others to Google “persona management software” once in a while. Thank you crosspatch.)

      • Jerry Harlan

        The only terrorist out there is the US government

  • Hope101

    Back in the ’70s I worked for a large company that owned a very successful collection agency. The agency sent out printed form collection letters which always included intentional typographical errors and were printed, as much as possible, to look like a hand typed letter.

    If I wanted to discredit websites, I would go around posting comments that looked like they were posted by the most stupid peeple on earth so that when really smart people came along they wouldn’t wonder about the type of people who regularly visited and posted. They would just move along to ABC, NBC, CBS, etc. The people fooled by this tactic would be the same intelligent people who thought they received a real hand typed personal letter from a collection agency.

  • Ethan Glover

    Google does their best to fight these people, but they’ve got a business run. It’s the same reason most of us pay taxes. The threat is too great.

  • Mickey

    If google cares about this country they should not remove things that were said or done by politicians. This is one of the only ways we can get s look at what they stand for or against. We need transparancy!

    • edfardos

      Google doesn’t have a charter to care for this country. It’s a convenient place for executive homes and a safe place for money. When bombs start falling here like any other third world country, they’ll pick up and move to some other government they can control. Corporations haze zero patriotic duty, and why should they? Its not their business. Do not assume they’ll do the right thing because it’s right.

  • Karen

    Welcome to 1984. Please shred all documents and evidence of anything that’s actually happened as you exit the time machine.

  • bikerdogred1

    So they can sneak around your back anytime they want,no thanks.

  • pacman925

    We could boycott google !

    • Jeanne Bodenberg

      Why would you boycott google? Theyre being transparent. Why wouldn’t you work to change the corrupt laws that allow removal articles and search criteria. Next they’ll be burning books.

      • erik

        you are right. Think the movie, ” Farenheit 451″.

  • Kenneth James Abbott

    I’d be more grateful to Google for letting us know this, if they weren’t so eager to help China do the exact same thing to its citizens.

  • Kyle Becker

    Great, but what are the search terms and articles being censored?

  • Difster

    I wonder how many requests are made by the US government that Google is not allowed to mention? I bet the total is far higher than everything combined above.

    • AllSeasonRadial

      FBI Security Letters are different from the court writs that Google is mentioning. They aren’t issued by public courts, and therefore, they are not covered by disclosure laws. It was a terrible mistake for the Bush Administration to enact that authority for the FBI and a terrible event for the public when the SCOTUS upheld it.

      • Difster

        I could not agree more.

  • Paul Blair

    You know there’s something special about a government minion *asking* a company, registered to business where that government holds sway, to take an action …right?

  • abinico

    So now we know – google cannot be trusted.

    • Martin Stauber

      Google can be trusted, the fact that they are announcing how many requests they get for political content to be removed and fighting every request instead of just giving in and not telling anyone is AWESOME.

      • AllSeasonRadial

        All true, although I would request that for full transparency, Google should publish the links for which it received the writs. I’d LOVE to see what the government is trying to suppress.

      • Art Lowe
        • dextermassolettisr

          This video, as of this date, is no longer abailabe on YouTube — not even the title.

    • Draken

      Not trying to be rude, but if you are really concerned about privacy, physically destroy your computer, cellphone and really all technology near you.

      The only way to ensure privacy online is to never go online. I know it sounds ‘tinfoil-hat crazy’ to say that, but it is the truth. There is an expectation of privacy, I’ll give you that, but the only way to ensure privacy is to avoid the internet altogether.

      • AllSeasonRadial

        Actually, it’s a popular myth that you can’t have privacy. You most certainly can. It is your RIGHT. But nobody is going to just GIVE it to you. You are responsible for seeing that it is not taken from you; if necessary even FORCE people (ESP. people in power) to respect your privacy.

        That’s why the US Constitution was written to protect it. That’s why officials need a warrant (a warrant = a reason that satisfies the requirement of law) to tap your phone or inspect your USPS correspondence. Officials who fail to follow these laws are (supposed to be) subject to the same penalties as anyone else breaking the law.

        If we surrender our privacy to the exigencies of such temporary conditions as security or technology, we deserve exactly what we get and it won’t the conveniences offered by Google. It will be the iron fist and boot-heel that crush the spirit.

        • Beast

          Have you been watching the news about the NSA? Basically everything that happens online is collected and archived. Thinking you have privacy online is foolish, thinking you should be able to have privacy or that our privacy should be protected is another story and I agree. Unfortunately for now, it’s starting to look like 1984.

          • AllSeasonRadial

            It’s hard to miss the NSA news, as hard as I might try to avoid it, LOL. But what they do, they do only because we have surrendered our privacy in exchange for the exigent of a perception of security. This surrender began on September 11, 2001.

            We should expect governing officials to take what we offer them (i.e., whatever we don’t jealously guard from them). In this instance we gave up our right to privacy. Was it stupid? You betcha. Can we get it back? Remains to be seen how much of a crap we all give about it.

            At the moment, this loss of privacy is fairly benign to the body politic. But nothing stays the same; when the intrusions grow too burdensome, too punitive, then people will realize what they’ve given up. The most secure people are the ones in jail.

        • Draken

          Privacy is also more than just the relationship between an individual and the Government. Remember the Constitution only protects people against Government intrusion, not private intrusion into 4th Amendment privacy issues.

          Everything you do is online is recorded. Every time you post to this website your IP address is logged (Well I assume our IP address are logged as that is standard operating procedure for web forums/comment threads). Unless you are bouncing your IP off a proxy, or using a TOR service, everything you do online is tracked. This information may not be available to the Government, but it is available to someone other than yourself. Therefor, there is no privacy on the internet.

          Privacy as it relates to the Government in an interesting topic of study. The word “privacy” is not in the Constitution. However, you are correct that a right to privacy can be extrapolated from the 4th Amendment. But the discussion of privacy doesn’t end with the 4th, it only begins.

          First off here are three important cases you should read and have a general understanding of when discussing privacy, telecommunications, and the 4th Amendment.

          1) Olmstead v. United States, 277 U.S. 438 (1928)
          You really only need to read the dissent by Justice Brandeis, but the rest of the case should be skimmed so that you know what is going on.

          2) Katz v. United States, 389 U.S. 347 (1967)
          In particular the concurring opinion by Justice Harrlan

          3) Smith v. Maryland, 442 U.S. 735 (1979)

          Katz v. US from Justice Harrlan’s opinion gives us a balancing test for privacy. The test is two fold. One: did the individual have a reasonable expectation of privacy? Two: does society share that expectation of privacy?

          In simple terms, one would think that most individuals feel their internet is private, and generally society would agree. However the test is more then this as you also have to look at privacy in terms of disclosure.

          If you asked a librarian where a book is, there is no expectation of privacy in the fact that you requested a book. This is no different than if you asked Google for a book. In both cases you provided information to a third party. Once you disclose your query to a 3rd party there is no expectation of privacy.

          Now at least under Katz the argument could be made that because your query was to an automated system and not to an individual, then ‘reasonableness’ of the situation changes, and so 4th Amendment privacy should be expected.

          The problem is no court (that I know of) has addressed this issue. The closest they got was in Smith, where the SCOTUS held that the number you dial into a phone is not protected under the 4th Amendment. Because the number dialed is volunteered to a 3rd party in order to connect you, there can be no expectation of privacy. Now once connected there IS an expectation of privacy under Federal law which prohibits wiretaps without a warrant. (18 USC § 2511)

          What does this mean for Google? Well to connect to any website you need to know its IP Address. When you type in http:// that information is sent to a Domain Name System (DNS) which then looks up the IP address for Google. Once you have the IP address your computer ‘dials’ the correct number to connect to Google’s website(s).

          This a vast oversimplification of the process, but in essence some have argued this to try to claim that internet browsing is not protected under the 4th Amendment as connecting to different websites is noting more then volunteering information to a 3rd party (your Internet service provider) so the 3rd party can connect you.

          I don’t agree with this particular interpretation, but it is still important to understand how/why the argument can be made for it.

          Please forgive the long post. As you can see the concept of privacy is rather complex.

          • AllSeasonRadial

            Your description and analysis of privacy vis-à-vis network communications (which I consider to be distinct from telecommunications) is cogent and informative. I knew a lot of what you wrote, did not know about the SCOTUS ruling on numbers dialed— roughly equivalent to DNS information and other network meta-data.

            I do take issue with this: one would think that most individuals feel their internet is private, and generally society would agree.

            Computer networks were never designed to assure privacy. Quite the contrary. Digital networks— and the Internet especially— from their inception were engineered to share and distribute information, not to protect it. Protecting networked information rarely if ever reaches a secondary or even tertiary function of networks.

            Even the best online security is like whispering secrets through a megaphone on a crowded public street (or worse, in a District Attorney’s office). In the face of the enormous information breaches that occur every day (looking at YOU Target), if it’s true that society still agrees that they can expect their networked communications to be private, they have been sold a bill of goods.


            The Constitutional right to privacy must either be explicit or implicit from explicit language. Section 8 implies the sanctity of the mail. The 4th Amendment explicitly demands the security of people’s things.

            As you correctly noted, telephone calls became protected thanks to laws written addressing an emerging technology. Protection of online information must also be explicit by law. That’s exactly what I mean when I say people CAN expect privacy (from government intrusion at *least*), but they have to insist on it.

            In the private realm, privacy can be assured through financial means. People have no idea at all of the value of the information which they uniquely generate every day. Marketers do, though. Trade in people’s personal information generates tens, if not hundreds, of billions of dollars every year.

            What if every time someone traded your information (whether individually or as part of package), you were paid? It wouldn’t be much on a per-transaction basis, but in aggregate could be quite lucrative for you. The technology to do this existed in the early 2000’s. It’s been proven by the very existence of the NSA’s ability to gather and parse the information we are discussing right now. It would be a lead-pipe cinch to turn that technology to the benefit of people (around the world!).

            But I can virtually guarantee you that it won’t happen as long as the informed keep telling everyone that it can’t.

          • Draken

            Oh a fellow tech nerd? In that case sorry again for the over simplification. It is hard to determine the tech level of people at first glance, so I tend to explain things at towards the ‘any button’ level of l33t.

            I agree that privacy online can be equated to using a bullhorn to hold a conversation in a public place (great analogy by the way). As for my comment on expectations, I agree that people should not expect privacy, but based on a ‘survey’ of people commenting on this article, it would seem that society does expect online anything to be private. Well as you and I have discussed, really nothing online is private. The courts would generally favor the tech nerd version of privacy, meaning everything is recorded therefor there is no privacy. In other words the ‘reasonable person’ who understands the technology and the process is who the courts would turn to determine the reasonable expectations of society.

            Where I’m not trying to be rude to other posting here, the reality is that the uninformed tend to assume there is privacy online, when the informed know there is not. This is why I quickly went from Katz into disclosure, to highlight that the ‘reasonableness’ can only be determined by reviewing disclosure among other things. Basically I am trying to show that once people know what is going on they better understand what little privacy they have.

            Like in your bullhorn example I have run into people who are very verbosely having conversations in public who take great offense if you comment or even ask them to quiet down. It boils down to people unreasonable expecting/demanding privacy when it can’t happen. This why my analysis mentioned an expectation, then quickly moved to disprove that expectation.

            Also I need to emphasize again, the Constitution does not explicitly say anything about privacy. I personally agree that the 4th does grant some privacy rights, but the argument can be made otherwise. It can be argued that the 4th Amendment is more about protecting a person’s right to own and use personal property, not privacy. This would have the 4th acting as a prohibition against tortious interference, noting more. As a result we can’t rely on only the 4th to protect us.

            Now as to changing the laws, changing expectations. I agree we could do that, but as I’m sure you realize that is not an easy thing to do. The internet is global. No amount of regulation will fix that. There are some privacy laws that have helped, HIPPA for example ( ). But this is not something that we can just legislate away.

            Privacy as a whole is a complicated issue. Moving for more laws really is nothing more than the using a bullhorn, while telling people to plug their ears. I agree that some things should remain private. Healthcare and banking records are a perfect example of things that should remain private. The rest is education, teaching people the reality.

            As for the NSA who keeps being brought up, well that is a question of degrees. For example a police officer can follow you around all day in public with no issue, perfectly legal. Yet at some point this constant surveillance would go from reasonable to stalker. The SCOTUS discussed this a little bit in United States v. Jones, 565 US ___, 132 S.Ct. 945 (2012), when they held that police use of a GPS devices was a ‘search.’

            How Jones will be applied to other areas of tech I don’t know. Michael Lotfi did a quick article about a recent Federal District court case that discusses Smith, Katz, and Jones as applied to the NSA. ( ) A copy of the opinion is also posted there. The opinion is worth reading if you are interested on one way to apply the 4th in favor of privacy in communications.

            I seem to be going in circles, sorry. Because of how interwoven everything is to one another it is hard to follow a single train of thought sometimes.

            So Summary:

            I agree that people should not always expect privacy online, but people still do. Education is needed for those who don’t understand tech. I disagree that a general law will fix this, but in select situations (ex HIPPA) targeted laws on privacy rights can be beneficial.

          • erik

            this has to be one of the most intelligent, non-attacking discussions I have seen in a long time.

          • AllSeasonRadial

            It’s true. I can always tell when I get more interesting information out of each re-reading of a post.

          • Talisman

            Most illuminating. Thank you.

          • g.johnon

            so, basically, it is probably safe to assume that those that the nsa (and the rest of the “government”) says they are after are probably the ones using proxies and tor services.

          • Draken

            Perhaps… But even TOR may not be enough. The police did arrest who they think is the creator of the digital Silk Road, a TOR based black/grey market in September. It looks like the FBI may have just gotten a few of the moderators as well.


          • g.johnon

            interesting article draken, but the point that i was kind of aiming at, and forgive me for being a bit cryptic, was that this seems to point to the suspicion that the main thrust of all this surveillance has nothing to do with terrorism. seems that our reaction to the threat of terrorism is more surrender than defensive posture.

      • g.johnon

        isn’t that just a little bit like saying: “the most efficient way to keep your cholesterol down is to not eat”?

        • Draken

          You don’t need the internet to be able to live, you do need food. So no I would not make that analogy.

          But I suppose I should have said, “internet connected technology” so as differentiate between things such as refrigerators, light bulbs and the printed media, versus the net.

          Meh, oh well, Merry Christmas all the same…

          • g.johnon

            same to you draken, and everyone else who may read this.

            in my limited mind, it would depend on what is your definition of living that determines whether or not the internet is vital.

            if all the world is under siege, communication may be our greatest hope.

  • NSSA3Way

    What would North Korea do?

    • Brandon Magoon

      In North Korea they would just shoot you. In the US they are more sophisticated then that. Dissent is permitted as long as the dissent isn’t in any way effective.

      • NSSA3Way

        So very true

  • dogtrain

    Have not used Google as a search engine since I found out about this. Instead, have found to be just as fast and it is secure.

    • Martin Stauber

      NO! Continue to use google. Google themselves posted this report, to raise awareness that governments and courts are forcing them to do this.

      • Jay Smith

        forcing no Google is complying with requests making them no better than our government

      • Matthew

        duckduckgo is good because they keep no record of your searches.

        • Ann

          Duckduckgo may not keep records, but, there’s no guarantee that they can’t keep the gov’t from monitoring their internet activity.

          • Matthew

            Anonymity Online

            Protect your privacy. Defend yourself against network surveillance and traffic analysis.


    • PithHelmut

      Thank you, I’m defecting.

  • Pierre Bonhomme

    Editors: Please pay attention to ‘It’s’ vs ‘its’ in your second line. In this context, it’s is not a possessive. No excuses for this.

    • g.johnon

      did this apostrophe thing really lead you to not being able to understand the thrust of the article? or are you just a grammar Nazi?

      • Razz

        Expecting perfection is not being a “nazi.” If you can’t take the time to write it correctly, why should anyone take anything you write seriously?

        We all make mistakes and that’s why we hire EDITORS for professional writings.

        • jackbenimble

          It’s a blog. It’s citizen “journalism.” There is no “fact-checking, neutrality, hard-news” editors hired to review all blog posts.

          Get your info from a hard news agency, add something of actual value to the conservation…or move on. Nobody’s interested in your grammar proficiency.

        • g.johnon

          ok then, grammar nazi it is.

        • Evanl

          “Expecting perfection isn’t being a ‘nazi'”.
          Ummm what were the nazi trying to achieve? Oh that’s right, the “perfect” race.

      • Razz

        Expecting perfection is not being a “nazi.” If you can’t take the time to write it correctly, why should anyone take anything you write seriously?

        We all make mistakes and that’s why we hire EDITORS for professional writings.

      • azsdft

        I can’t tell you how tired I am of the crap language and phonetic/half ass spelling on the internet and text messages. It’s part of the problem with society now days. Laziness is all it is. Makes me wonder what kind of education people have received when they don’t know the proper use of “its – it’s, your – you’re, their – they’re – there” and so on.

        • PithHelmut

          Big deal. As if that is what’s important right now. Anyway, language should be fluid not fixed. Have you ever wondered why there is no apostrophe in “its” when used as a possessive adjective? There’s no sense to leaving it off in that instance. And there is no sense in many other spellings such as double letters. Why are there double letters neighboring hard sounding vowels for example and none neighboring soft-sounding vowels in other instances? The language is not consistent, it’s arbitrary. And since that is so we should be upgrading our language and our grammar also not sticking to the same old dictates.

          • azsdft

            It’s just being lazy is all it is.

      • Mark A. Duckworth

        Those damn idiots who can’t use proper grammar! To the concentration camp I send them!

  • poorbutterfly

    Don’t be a useful idiot. Don’t remove the information!

  • Rob Edwards

    Google censors firearms related shopping and other firearms related info on there own without a request. I stopped using them a long time ago over that.

  • gadsdengurl

    They tried that with us, sorry, no government that is 100% funded by our tax dollars can escape scrutiny by pretending to be copyrighted like a business! YOU LOSE.

    • g.johnon

      well gads, you do understand that the u.s. government is not 100% funded by our tax dollars don’t you?
      in fact taxes do not even cover the interest on the so called debt. not even close.

      • Qari

        Naw, the BEA shows that our taxes can cover them, and a lot more to boot. But it’s all the stuff that isn’t scheduled payments that bring on the printing press.

        • g.johnon

          qari. bea? what is the bea?
          and could you be a little more forthcoming about some of the “stuff that isn’t scheduled payments”? you know, examples.
          i am standing firmly by this:
          1. even a 100% income tax cannot cover the debt.
          2. we the people owe nothing.
          3. the “debt” is fraud.

      • PithHelmut

        Please explain. Don’t leave us dangling. How else does the government get funded? I believe by the “drug war”, but is this what you are talking about? Please let’s not play mysterious games – open up ourselves then we will demand openness but we must not be like them anymore.

  • Jay Smith

    ok so you give in google? what are you afraid they will come after you if you don’t?

  • juicylu

    Unadulterated Totalitarian Censorship! The Internet was not given to the public to be censored, it was given as the purest form of freedom. Just ask the Computer scientists who invented it!

    • erik

      who claimed to invent the internet? That would be al gore right. Just kidding. They should not be able to remove things that make them look bad,.

      • ifritcs

        The internet was created by the military to be a means of communication for soldiers under critical situations such as divers

    • azsdft

      Actually, the Internet WAS originally designed for the Government and Military. The civilian use of it is a bonus for us. Like Car manufacturers that make improvements to race cars, occasionally the consumer benefits from those improvements as well.

      • PithHelmut

        And who pays for the military? Yeah, us.

        • azsdft

          You sure told me.

    • PithHelmut

      It was not “given”. We paid for it! Remember that. We, the taxpayer paid for it’s development. It is ours. Stop this cap-in-hand mentality. They are nothing to us. We have given over our consent to psycho’s. But we can take it back just like a snapping of the fingers. They know this…many of us are still coming to terms with our own heft.

  • Scott Snoopy

    censorship much? nah never…go back to sleep sheeple, move on there is nothing to see here

    • Dave Henry

      LITERALLY nothing…

  • Shnoobins

    “Beware of he who would deny you access to information, for in his heart he dreams himself your master.”

  • dan9el


    Does anyone out there remember when I pointed out that if by any chance information about the Barack Obama illegitimacy to be at the presidential platform was seek , the come-out in many cases was going to be things like;….’page not found’,….’404 error’,…..the site you requested has been removed’;…..does anyone remember?

    Well, here we go,…to find information about the corruption and frauds, illegal practices, and so on,… about the unconstitutional , corrupted, Chicago mafia-style political machinery now in Washington with Mr Barack Obama occupying his ill-acquired presidential platform is very difficult at the regular USA Yahoo/Google NET grid;….we have to go outside it….to other sources not possible (with all their technology) to be block by the current censorship forced all over – in many areas – by the current government in Washington.

    Need I say more? Yes?….or….No?

  • Well Done


  • concernd

    What are they afraid of…BULLSHIT…post everything we have the right to know…

    • PithHelmut

      No government secrets period. Open up all the books, remove all the politicians. We regroup by dispensing with money altogether and live in a gifting society for a while making the money holders totally impotent immediately.

  • Saflak

    I can’t take this, I am going back to my reality show about pawn shops. At least there, I don’t get upset or have to worry about important reality.

    • PithHelmut

      No please stay and help us free ourselves!

  • goyama

    More government cover up. When will the internet and the people be totally FREE?
    If you don’t want it exposed, don’t do it stupid!

  • John F. Hendry

    Susan Infantino shows while Google may be a giant, its the best one we have waking up the World to reality. Do no evil is a good way to think. Evil needs to hide while the truth seeks light..

    • PithHelmut

      But they do it to an extent which is suspect. Why can’t they be fully transparent? Why do we compromise so much and lick the boots of anyone who is just above an already too-low bar? (or should I say baa?) Don’t thank them for their measured transparency. There are things where you must not be half pregnant.

  • michael

    i made a comment to sen rand paul about why he was asking me for money when all i wanted was to sign a petition for his so called class action lawsuit against the nsa but apparently my name didnt go through because i didnt give any money to him then a day later i heard he was endorsing mitt romney who is supported by goldman saks for the 2016 presidential farce hey rand what happened to “we have to audit goldman saks”….oh yeah thats right you attended a bildleberg meeting…..then i find out he tried to get a jounalist fired from rt news for having the gaul to ask him about it….that man could learn a lot from his father

    • PithHelmut

      Well silly you. Haven’t you heard they’re all pustules?

      • Michael Kelligan


  • michael

    hey a you sheeple out there im willing to bet dollars to donuts “not that either are worth a damn” that they will have another false flag event at the russian winter games……you would be amazed at how well the marxist socialist tool HEGELIAN DIALECTICS works, hitler did it when he burned down the reichstag building to get “anti terrorist” legislation passed with the peoples approval

  • mzungu

    What about other search engines? Is Google the master and then everything, for example, I might search for on Bing is really a script that runs a Google search?

    • Vance


  • tdub85

    Am I suposed to ignore that the google site (and assume person)gives a different summary then what is written here?

    United States

    We received 27 requests from a federal government agency to suspend 89 apps from the Google Play store that allegedly infringed its trademark rights. After reviewing the apps in question with respect to those trademarks, we removed 76 apps.

    We received a request from a local law enforcement official to remove a search result linking to a news article about his record as an officer. We did not remove the search result.

    We received a court order directed at a third party to remove six search results linking to news articles and to claims on the Ripoff Report website that allegedly defamed a company by suggesting it was involved in illegal activities. We removed the search results linking to the Ripoff Report, but did not remove the news articles.

    The number of content removal requests we received increased by 70% compared to the previous reporting period.

    • Vance

      ALL OF THE CONTENT SHOULD BE REMOVED. This country doesn’t care about people right to privacy. They have people taking those stories and sensationalizing, hyper linking them and further destroying a persons good name over nonesense.

  • Michael Kelligan

    In the last three days Iv’e been blacklisted from three political sites with a Leftish lean,and the only people that seemed to be unaffected were those that were both promoting hate as well as race baiting

    • Vance


      • Michael Blake

        Shut the he’ll up troll.

  • msbetz

    Hey Google, Just say “NO.”

    • Vance

      What about people who did nothing wrong and they found out they were not guilty, but some stupid social media site writes a story because some political hack decided to pay the social media site to concoct a story. Now the person has this BS story still online and someone is page ranking it so they can’t move forward with their life, all because of some politicians who wanted to seek revenge and was able to pay some desperate social media site to report a concocted story. That’s not right. You have no idea how social media is destroying people with misleading, inaccurate made up information and then the media site and dirty paid off editors hide under the first amendment.

  • ChristCrusader

    Thank you for this revelation.
    Governments are scoffing at the people they are supposed to be serving…
    People are not meant, nor equipped, to rule other people. It’s practically an impossibility, with perhaps George Washington being the only exception that I know of, and he didn’t want to do it, and he stepped down as soon as he could.

  • ric

    Dear Google (Sonya Sandage),
    If they didn’t ask you to remove it from the search, would you post the 545 requests of 3,887 items? It would greatly simplify my search :)

  • Tobias

    Why has Google consented to remove ANY articles? Perhaps a petition would encourage Google to reinstate these items? “Government” and “transparency” is pretty much an oxymoron because they are treated as mutually exclusive BY the government.

    • Vance

      Maybe Google should put your personal shit out there and see how you like it.

  • onceproudamerican

    What part of the Constitution enumerates a power for the government to ask/tell private businesses to censor their offerings?

  • Dave

    Well….did Google grant their requests? That’s my question.

  • Scott Douglas Lemoine

    Is there any way to find out what items they are requesting to be removed????????

  • truthteller13

    These requests betray a fundamental lack of understanding of how the Internet works. First off, there are other search engines. Second, most of the most damaging information is copied and recopied. And there links to it. It is on-line, and off-line. So, it will never go away. The truth has a strange way of building momentum when it is blocked. Finally, first-hand sources are where the most relevant, new, information is coming from. And we all already have 20 or 30 sites we use and trust, that we can go to to find out what is going on. This is not good, and is deeply troubling, but it will fail, and will ultimately work against this administration.

  • Vance

    The USA needs to do something about our laws. THEY SUCK in AMERICA. This Freedom of speech is outdated and has not kept up with digital media. People are cyber harassing people and politicians are paying into social media sites like PATCH.COM to have misleading and inaccurate stories written to embarass people and then put on GOOGLES search engine. GOOGLE ALLOWS that CRAP to get page ranked. These are negative stories and whatever they want to keep people at a disadvantage. America is a GREEDY, selfish place that exposes peoples personal and private information for the world to see. I wouldn’t trust America if I were other countries. America don’t give a shit and will allow people to be hurt and at a disadvantage. THE ACLU SUCKS and have given Google and Patch these rights to hurt people. The USA needs to revamp their social media laws and stop giving social media sites and google the right to reveal private information online, especially if a person had an expungement and the stupid online story is online. DUH

  • Vance


  • Vance

    google needs to take down negative sites if people don’t want them there. why should americans have to be punished by GOOGLE AND THEIR DIRTY SOCIAL MEDIA SITES WHO MAKE A BUCK OFF OUR GOOD NAMES.

  • Vance


  • Michael Kelligan


  • keepyourpower

    Like the so-called Ethics bill in the Senate of SC. They wanted to do to the citizens of SC, what the IRS is doing to the Conservative groups…give us your donor list or else! Guess what? Enough Patriots contacted the Governor and the stop it.

  • DoubleAgent74

    You folks do realize that Google is not the only search engine out there, right? If one doesn’t give you the results you want, try another.

    • Keyser Soze

      Beside the point. People dont KNOW their results are being censored. Thats the entire point of the censorship: so that people dont even know that content ever existed