Google has been asked to take down over a million websites

After years spent attempting to clean the internet’s murky waters, Google’s latest transparency report reveals it has now received takedown requests for over a million different sites. With its individual URL removal request count now reaching the billions, these new figures suggest that pirates now have more options than ever when it comes to stealing digital cargo. The number of takedown requests are up significantly from last year, thanks in part to copyright-holder’s increasingly widespread use of algorithms that automatically inform Google of copyright-infringing content.

While the numbers are staggering, it’s hardly surprising that the world’s most popular search engine gets inundated with requests to remove illegal content from its search results. What is unexpected, however, is that the report shows sites like The White House and The U.S Department of Justice have had repeated requests to remove their content. The U.S Government isn’t alone though, with legitimate sites like NASA, Netflix, the BBC and The New York Times also regularly making the naughty list.

Some of these baffling requests can of course, be chalked down to copyright software errors, but interestingly, Google’s transparency reports also expose governments that are trying to censor certain content. With political articles and videos regularly coming under fire from governments around the world, transparency reports allow citizens to easily keep tabs on their government.

Other reports, however, are less nefarious. A site that’s no stranger to being unjustly harassed by copyright holders is the movie database site, IMDB. Where most legitimate sites get accidental reports in the dozens, In recent years the popular movie page has had requests to remove over 1000 of its URLs. Unsurprisingly, Google refused to remove the site’s URLs from search results.

Still, the vast majority of these copyright infringements can undoubtedly be linked with a rise in piracy. With US internet service providers recently abandoning their piracy warning system before the UK has even implemented the policy, it seems as though making piracy sites harder to find is currently many rights’ holders best option.