Google denies mayor's request to take down blogs

Posted at 11/14/2012 7:38 PM | Updated as of 11/14/2012 7:38 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Internet company Google has revealed that it refused the request of a Philippine mayor to take down 5 blogs critical of the local official.

Google, in its latest transparency report, did not identify the mayor.

"We received a request from the office of a local mayor to remove five blogs for criticizing the mayor. We did not remove content in response to this request," the company said.

The five blogs are hosted on Google-owned Blogger.com

Google said that since 2010, it has received various complaints involving defamation, government criticism, and impersonation from Philippine internet users.

In its FAQ page, the tech giant said it does not comply with all content removal requests.

"Some requests may not be specific enough for us to know what the government wanted us to remove (for example, no URL is listed in the request), and others involve allegations of defamation through informal letters from government agencies, rather than court orders," it said.

"We generally rely on courts to decide if a statement is defamatory according to local law," it added.

From January to June 2012, Google revealed that it has also received takedown requests from governments in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Iran, Italy, Monaco, Russia, Spain, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, United Kingdom, and the United States.

"Governments ask companies to remove content for many different reasons. For example, some content removals are requested due to allegations of defamation, while others are due to allegations that the content violates local laws prohibiting hate speech or pornography," Google explained. "Laws surrounding these issues vary by country, and the requests reflect the legal context of a given jurisdiction."

The Philippines recently enacted the anti-cybercrime law, which penalizes online libel with 12 years imprisonment and a hefty fine.

It also authorizes the Department of Justice to order websites to be blocked, even without a court review.

Petitions have been filed before the Supreme Court questioning the constitutionality of the new law, which is under a 90-day temporary restraining order.