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Google dragged into Patriot Act debate over EU-based data

Written by James Delahunty (Google+) @ 14 Aug 2011 15:09

Google dragged into Patriot Act debate over EU-based data German magazine report drags Google into controversy over Patriot Act requests.
Back in June, Microsoft's Gordon Frazer sparked a debate when he was asked a question about the Patriot Act. According to ZDNet, he was asked if Microsoft could guarantee that information stored in EU-based data centers would be protected even against requests made under the Patriot Act.

Frazer responded that he could not provide such a guarantee, and that neither could any U.S. company. Indeed, the Patriot Act does mandate that firms based in the U.S. handover data stored by foreign subsidiaries when ordered to.

Originally intended as a response to global terrorism, the Patriot Act has been pushed way beyond those boundaries, according to some opponents. In this case, it forces U.S. companies into a conflict with EU data protection laws, which mandate that firms storing information on citizens protect it.

"As a law abiding company, we comply with valid legal process, and that - as for any US based company - means the data stored outside of the U.S. may be subject to lawful access by the U.S. government. That said, we are committed to protecting user privacy when faced with law enforcement requests," a Google statement read.

"We have a long track record of advocating on behalf of user privacy in the face of such requests and we scrutinize requests carefully to ensure that they adhere to both the letter and the spirit of the law before complying."

Tags: Google
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