A repository of data on legal complaints and requests for the removal of online materials.

The Lumen database collects and analyses data associated with legal complaints about online activity, enabling reporters to investigate the prevalence of legal threats.

Since its founding in 2001, the Lumen project has collected almost 4 million requests to remove material from the internet.

The complaints are indexed by topic – say, copyright, defamation, Right to be Forgotten, et cetera – and can also be searched through Lumen’s central search interface.


Image: Lumen’s search interface.

For users who require large swaths of data or want to create automated processes to digest data trends, Lumen also offers an API.

Data is obtained via crowdsourced notices submitted to the database by individuals via the ‘Report a Demand’ feature, as well as notices from businesses, like Google, Twitter, Wordpress, and Reddit, that automatically send any removal requests they receive.


Image: Lumen’s ‘Report a Demand’ feature.

Finally, it is important to note that notices posted on Lumen are not authenticated by the platform, and nor does it make any judgement as to their legal validity or basis – journalists must ensure that they assess the provenance of any data they source from the repository.

Lumen is a collaboration among law school clinics and the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Conceived and developed at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society by Berkman Fellow Wendy Seltzer, Lumen was nurtured with help from law clinics at Harvard, Berkeley, Stanford, University of San Francisco, University of Maine, George Washington School of Law, and Santa Clara University School of Law.

Visit Lumen here.