Google is moving British accounts into US jurisdiction and away from GDPR data protection laws, according to a source speaking to Reuters.
The move follows Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union, leaving Britain outside of GDPR regulations. Transferring UK user accounts to the US will make data easier to access by law enforcement and other parties.
Google – whose Irish HQ will remain in the EU – has decided to make the change because of the uncertain future of British data protection laws.
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The US is yet to develop any privacy laws on a similar level to the GDPR – which is one of the strictest sets of data privacy laws going – sparking fears that UK user data will be more vulnerable following the switch.
“Nothing about our services or our approach to privacy will change, including how we collect or process data, and how we respond to law enforcement demands for users’ information”, said Google in a statement. “The protections of the UK GDPR will still apply to these users”.
The USA recently passed ‘The Cloud Act’, a federal law which could make it easier for UK authorities to obtain data from US-based companies. The decision represents a tying together of UK-US data infrastructure that many believe could become a recurring theme post-Brexit.
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“Moving people’s personal information to the USA makes it easier for mass surveillance programmes to access it. There is nearly no privacy protection for non-US citizens”, warned Executive director of the Open Rights Group Jim Killock in a statement earlier today.
“Google’s decision should worry everyone who think tech companies are too powerful and know too much about us. The UK must commit to European data protection standards, or we are likely to see our rights being swiftly undermined by ‘anything goes’ US privacy practices”.
Are you worried about this shift in data privacy? Do you think it will have an impact on UK Google users? Let us know. Get in touch on Twitter @TrustedReviews