Google is getting a lot more pressure from international privacy watchdogs. This time it’s coming from Britain and Brazil.
“The requirement under the UK Data Protection Act is for a company to tell people what it actually intends to do with their data, not just what it might do at some unspecified point in future. Being vague does not help in giving users effective control about how their information is shared. It’s their information at the end of the day”
The European Union takes the privacy of its people very seriously. Their data protection laws from the 1990s are one of the toughest in the world and they recently announced that they plan to revise their laws to make it more stringent and uniform. There is a plan to introduce a “right to be forgotten” which will allow people to demand Internet companies remove personal data about them permanently. Of course, Google is extremely worried that more privacy protections for Europeans will harm their bottom line. The company has been lobbying European authorities for a while now, trying to block any chance of more protections for Europeans to pass. David Smith said this about the right to be forgotten,
“Google can’t just say: I’m just a messenger, I have no responsibility at all for the messages I carry. Given their dominant role and their huge influence here they have a responsibility to ensure they operate in a fair and reasonable way. Where things are drawn to their attention and it can be established they are delivering content which is defamatory, where it is harmful to individuals and there is no public interest justification Google have a responsibility not to serve up that information”
It’s a good thing that European regulators are keeping a close watch on Google. Let’s hope that they support their harsh words for Google with real action against the company. Later this month, the French data protection authority, CNIL, will release their full report. Data protection authorities from all EU member nations will respect the findings and coordinate their actions against Google. It may include hefty fines and even criminal prosecution if Google doesn’t comply with their laws.
Interesting – things could get a lot worse for Google and a lot better for the average Internet user. We’ll wait and see how things develop.
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