Today, Google released its six-month Transparency Report. The report showed that government attempts to censor websites and users is on the rise. From cheap hosting sites to video channels like YouTube, censorship is alive and well.
The top governments seeking censorship during the past six months were Brazil, the United States, Germany, India, and Turkey. Why are governments seeking to close down cheap hosting sites, video content, and other content? What's with all the censorship? More importantly, does Google always comply with these requests?
Government Censorship: Cheap Web Hosting Sites Are Powerless — Is Google?
When a government wants Google to shut down a site, the company first considers the request. If the site in question doesn't appear to be violating any major laws, Google will appeal the request. When Google can't appeal a censorship demand, the company shuts down a site or limits access.
For the most part, sites that are shut down are political sites or sites that showcase highly controversial material. But, if you happen to find your site shut down, here's what you can do.
Government Censorship: First, Contact Your Cheap Web Hosting Provider
The first thing that you can do is contact your host. If your site has been removed, it might not be a censorship issue. For reasons why a cheap web hosting company might shut down a site, take a look at our previously written article (linked at the beginning of this sentence).
If it is a government issue, there's not much that you can do about it. You'll have to change the offensive materials included on your site, but that would probably defeat the entire purpose of your site, right? The good news here is that Google doesn't always go along with government requests, and the company tries to stand up for Internet users regularly.
Government Censorship: Why Censorship Is Rising
It's becoming clearer and clearer that the Internet is a powerful tool. Just take a look at recent hacks on Twitter accounts and what Reddit users did during the Boston bombings. Spreading the word online through a site, any word, isn't as hard as it once was.
As governments wake up to the realization that the Internet spreads news, censorship becomes something that is more important to authorities. But, don't worry, this type of censorship rarely relates to anything that a regular citizen does.
Unless, of course, you live in a country where censorship is the norm. In that case, you have to abide by the laws of your country, and Google would be powerless to help you.
If you want to take a look at Google's report, the full report can be found Google[dot]com/transparency report/