Google wants to make it easier for governments to access customer data stored on overseas servers


The company believes current rules on information sharing are outdated, and is set to press US lawmakers to update them.

If it gets its way, governments would be able to quickly get their hands on the personal data of Google account holders around the world.

The move follows a spate of terrorist attacks in Europe, and is designed to make it easier for investigators to track down culprits.

The company’s efforts will cause concern though, as government agencies are known to have overstepped the mark on several occasions, as revealed by Edward Snowden.

Current electronic communications rules allow government access to overseas data, but the process of requesting the data and receiving a warrant for it can takes months.

“This couldn’t be a more urgent set of issues,” said Kent Walker, Google’s senior vice president and general counsel, reports Reuters.

However, it represents a major change in attitude for the company.

Earlier this year, Google opposed a court ruling declaring that it must comply with FBI search warrants for Gmail messages stored outside the US, if the requests are issued as part of a domestic fraud investigation.

“The magistrate in this case departed from precedent, and we plan to appeal the decision,” said a Google spokesperson at the time. “We will continue to push back on overbroad warrants.”

It also said that it sometimes breaks up emails to improve its network’s performance, and often doesn’t know where messages are being stored.

According to Reuters, Google will only call for countries “that commit to baseline privacy, human rights and due process principles” to be able to request people’s data directly from US companies without having to go through the US government first.

The arrangement is planned to work both ways.


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