What is the nation most likely to ask Google to take down user content or hand over user data? The United States, and increasingly so, fresh data showed Monday.
The US government asked Google to hand over user data 6,321 times in the second half of 2011, an increase of 37 percent from the same period in 2010. With 12,243 users and accounts specified, the US had far more requests than any other country.
Google complied with the US 93 percent of the time -- the highest rate of compliance the company reported as part of a regular update to its "Transparency Report."
Google downplayed the US hunger for user data in its latest report, saying, "The increase isn't surprising, since each year we offer more products and services, and we have a larger number of users." Google also noted that sometimes the US asks for data on behalf of other governments.
As for content removals, the US government also asked for more blog posts and videos to be removed from Google and YouTube in the second half of 2011 -- a total of 187 requests for 6,192 items, more than any other country.
Google noted that was up 103 percent from the year before and said it complied with less than half of those requests.
Google said it avoided complying with requests to take down political speech when it could, for example in Spain and Poland.
The report gave some of the requests a higher level of detail. "We received a request from the Passport Canada office to remove a YouTube video of a Canadian citizen urinating on his passport and flushing it down the toilet. We did not comply with this request."