About Lumen

To increase transparency and accountability over our online content moderation practices, Google LLC shares certain legal notices that we receive requesting the removal of content from many of our services with a third-party project called Lumen. Lumen is an independent research project managed by the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School that houses, analyzes, and publishes copies of online content takedown requests that have been voluntarily shared with Lumen by various companies, such as Google LLC. Its purpose is to educate the public and facilitate journalistic, academic, or policy-focused research about the global notice & takedown “ecology” and the availability of content on the web.

Why do we share with Lumen?

Transparency is a core value at Google, especially relating to the availability of information and content in our services. We are committed to being held accountable for and preventing abuse and fraud in our online content moderation practices. Sharing a copy of certain legal removal notices that we receive with the Lumen project for publication is one of the important ways to achieve these objectives. Through the Lumen project, internet users, content owners, and researchers are able to learn about content removal requests that internet platforms, such as Google, receive. Lumen’s goals are to “facilitate research about the different kinds of complaints and requests for removal—both legitimate and questionable—that are being sent to Internet publishers, search engines, and service providers, and to provide as much transparency as possible about the ‘ecology’ of such notices, in terms of who is sending them and why, and to what effect.”

What data is shared with Lumen?

We describe below the categories of information that we may share with Lumen when contained in legal notices that request the removal of content in many of our products and services. Examples of these products and services include Search, Blogger, Local Reviews, and Groups. Depending on the issue the request was submitted under as listed below, Google generally shares with Lumen:

  • The name of the person who made the request
  • The rights holder’s name
  • The reported URLs
  • The country of the request
  • The date of the request
  • An explanation of the request as provided in the removal request form
  • Any documents provided as attachments in support of the request

Google never shares with Lumen any information provided in the contact information fields, such as email address, in any content removal requests.

Requests related to defamation

Google generally doesn't share with Lumen the name of the individual who made the removal request on defamation grounds.

For requests related to alleged defamatory content, Google generally shares with Lumen:

  • The type of request (defamation)
  • The reported URLs
  • The country of the request
  • The date of the request
  • Any documents provided as attachments in support of the request, unless confidential
  • An explanation of the request as provided in the removal request form, unless it contains private information, such as email address, which is redacted before sharing

As an exception to the above, Google may also share with Lumen the name of the individual making the removal request in circumstances where there's a high public interest in sharing this information following a case-by-case assessment.

Requests related to copyright and trademark laws

For content removal requests submitted under the DMCA, other copyright laws, or trademark laws, Google generally shares with Lumen:

  • The type of request (copyright or trademark)
  • The name of the person who made the request
  • The rights holder’s name
  • The reported URLs
  • The country of the request
  • The date of the request
  • Any documents provided as attachments in support of the request
  • An explanation of the request as provided in the removal request form
  • A quote of the alleged infringing content

Requests related to local laws

Google doesn't share with Lumen the requestor’s name or contact information.

For content removal requests related to local laws, Google generally shares with Lumen:

  • The reported URLs
  • The country of the request
  • The date of the request
  • Any documents provided as attachments in support of the request, unless confidential
  • An explanation of the request as provided in the removal request form, unless it contains private information, such as email address, which is redacted before we share it

As an exception to the above, Google may also share with Lumen the name of the individual who made the removal request in circumstances where there's a high public interest in sharing this information following a case-by-case assessment.

Requests related to court orders

For content removal requests on the basis of a court order, Google generally shares with Lumen:
  • The type of removal request (court order)
  • The name of the person who made the request
  • The reported URLs
  • The country of the request
  • The date of the request
  • An explanation of the request as provided in the removal request form (unless it contains private information, such as email address, which is redacted before we share it)
  • The court order attached to the request, unless it's confidential

Requests from government agencies & entities

For content removal requests from a government entity or agency, Google generally share with Lumen:

  • The type of removal request (government request)
  • The name of the government entity or agency
  • The reported URLs
  • The country of the request
  • The date of the request
  • An explanation of the request as provided in the removal request form
  • Any documents provided as attachments in support of the request, unless confidential

Google Search results page notifications

When a Google Search results page is affected by a legal removal, a notice may appear at the bottom of that page. This notice links to the content removal request that Google shared with and is published at Lumen and contains the information as detailed above.

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