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Occupy crackdowns could put spotlight on YouTube policy

26 Oct 2011
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Google's latest transparency report included some interesting notes on the company's YouTube video policy.

Google complied with more than 100 content removal requests from law enforcement groups, but also denied several requests, including a number of videos that allegedly exposed police brutality and defamed the police.

Conflict between police and the public is nothing new, but the issue could become a hot topic as the Occupy protests drag on and police around the country commence crackdown efforts.

Encounters between law enforcement and protesters are all but inevitible and, with video recording now a common feature on mobile handsets, much of the crackdown will find its way onto YouTube.

This could raise an interesting conflict between Google, YouTube and law enforcement groups. Police will be in no mood to have video of officers clashing with citizens circling the web, particularly with tension between protestors and police already high.

Google, meanwhile, could have a delicate balancing act to perform. The company doesn't want to be seen as party to incitement to violence against police, but has a core set of principles to uphold, particularly empowering free speech and the rights of individuals.

If YouTube is going to pride itself on helping citizens spread word of protests and police actions in other parts of the world, Google is obliged to allow the same freedom here.

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Shaun Nichols

Shaun Nichols is the US correspondent for He has been with the company since 2006, originally joining as a news intern at the site's San Francisco offices.

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