(Newsroom America) -- Technology giant Google says in a new report there has been an "alarming rise" in the number of censorship requests coming from Western governments, including the United States.
The number of requests is "alarming not only because free expression is at risk, but because some of these requests come from countries you might not suspect -- Western democracies not typically associated with censorship," writes Dorothy Chou, a senior policy analyst at Google, in a blog post on Sunday night.
"For example, in the second half of last year, Spanish regulators asked us to remove 270 search results that linked to blogs and articles in newspapers referencing individuals and public figures, including mayors and public prosecutors," she wrote. "In Poland, we received a request from a public institution to remove links to a site that criticized it. We didn't comply with either of these requests."
U.S. government agencies have submitted far more requests, according to Google. During the last half of 2011, U.S. agencies asked Google to remove 6,192 individual pieces of content from search results, blog posts or online videos, according to the report.
That's an increase of 718 percent from the 787 requests U.S. agencies asked Google to remove in the first six months of last year.
In all, Google received 187 requests from U.S. law enforcement agencies and courts to remove content from July to December, a 103-percent increase from 92 requests the tech giant received in the prior reporting period.
Google says the increases in requests is not surprising, given the company continually offers more Web-based services and products.
"We review each request to make sure that it complies with both the spirit and the letter of the law, and we may refuse to produce information or try to narrow the request in some cases," Google said, in its report.
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