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Exclusive: Google users in UK to lose EU data protection - sources

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Exclusive: Google users in UK to lose EU data protection - sources

By Joseph Menn

 

2020-02-19T211145Z_2_LYNXMPEG1I1QZ_RTROPTP_4_GOOGLE-PRIVACY-EU.JPG

FILE PHOTO: The Google internet homepage is displayed on a product at a store in London, Britain January 23, 2016. REUTERS/Neil Hall

 

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Google is planning to move its British users' accounts out of the control of European Union privacy regulators, placing them under U.S. jurisdiction instead, sources said.

 

The shift, prompted by Britain's exit from the EU, will leave the sensitive personal information of tens of millions with less protection and within easier reach of British law enforcement.

 

The change was described to Reuters by three people familiar with its plans. Google intends to require its British users to acknowledge new terms of service including the new jurisdiction.

 

Ireland, where Google and other U.S. tech companies have their European headquarters, is staying in the EU, which has one of the world's most aggressive data protection rules, the General Data Protection Regulation.

 

Google has decided to move its British users out of Irish jurisdiction because it is unclear whether Britain will follow GDPR or adopt other rules that could affect the handling of user data, the people said.

 

If British Google users have their data kept in Ireland, it would be more difficult for British authorities to recover it in criminal investigations.

 

The recent Cloud Act in the United States, however, is expected to make it easier for British authorities to obtain data from U.S. companies. Britain and the United States are also on track to negotiate a broader trade agreement.

 

Beyond that, the United States has among the weakest privacy protections of any major economy, with no broad law despite years of advocacy by consumer protection groups.

 

A Google spokesman declined to comment ahead of a public announcement.

 

An employee familiar with the planned move said that British privacy rules, which at least for now track GDPR, would continue to apply to that government's requests for data from Google's U.S. headquarters.

 

Google has amassed one of the largest stores of information about people on the planet, using the data to tailor services and sell advertising.

 

Google could also have had British accounts answer to a British subsidiary, but has opted not to, the people said.

 

Lea Kissner, Google's former lead for global privacy technology, said she would have been surprised if the company had kept British accounts controlled in an EU country with the United Kingdom no longer a member.

 

"There's a bunch of noise about the U.K. government possibly trading away enough data protection to lose adequacy under GDPR, at which point having them in Google Ireland's scope sounds super-messy," Kissner said.

 

"Never discount the desire of tech companies not be caught in between two different governments."

 

In coming months, other U.S. tech companies will have to make similar choices, according to people involved in internal discussions elsewhere.

 

Facebook, which has a similar set-up to Google, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

 

(Reporting by Joseph Menn; Editing by Greg Mitchell and David Evans)

 

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-- © Copyright Reuters 2020-02-20
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49 minutes ago, Chomper Higgot said:

Who needs personal data privacy, a Blue Passport is protection against all intruders.

 

Well said !

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No more red tape regulation, lol!

Edited by candide
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The answer's simple: Getting rid of Google is as desirable and a lot easier than getting rid of the EU,

 

Shop around. There are far better alternatives out there.

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Engaging a proxy server places users within the jurisdiction of their choosing at the drop of a.....rejoiner 😎

Edited by evadgib
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Pretty sad state of affairs when people think using Google is more important than their own country's sovereignty.

 

Imagine Shakespeare if he was a sad old British Europhile. "Google, Google, my kingdom for Google." 😁

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1 hour ago, JonnyF said:

Pretty sad state of affairs when people think using Google is more important than their own country's sovereignty.

 

Imagine Shakespeare if he was a sad old British Europhile. "Google, Google, my kingdom for Google." 😁

So you're saying Google is worth less than a horse? And trading the kingdom for a horse is OK, but not for the Google (Alphabet) company?

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19 hours ago, TheDark said:

People used to ask for freedoms, rights and protections for the workerkers - the common people.

 

Now the mantra is "Freedoms for the multinational companies to exploit out workers". Brexit is slowly starting to display it's ugly head. Minor changes for now, the larger changes are coming.

Have you read the privacy conditions for Thai visa, do you know under what jurisdiction your data is held and what exactly it entails?

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1 hour ago, sungod said:

Have you read the privacy conditions for Thai visa, do you know under what jurisdiction your data is held and what exactly it entails?

I haven't, like none have do so. That's the job for professionals to do and protect the rest of us.

 

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