There is a much longer post to be written on Google’s privacy policies and its history of combatting or complying with government requests for information and those of third parties using the courts to get access to user data. But I’ll take two recent items to illustrate the complexity and potential contradictions here. Google was just ordered to turn over the identity of some Gmail users pursuant to a defamation lawsuit between a Miami-based developer and a newspaper publication that tied the developer to government corruption in the Turks and Caicos Islands. According to an AP article: Developer Cem Kinay of Miami accuses TCI Journal of causing “reputational damage and lost profits,” according to a civil complaint filed in California. A court order tells Google to turn over data that may help identify users of the newspaper’s account with Gmail, the Internet search company’s e-email service. Google said in a statement to The Associated Press it is … [Read more...] about Is Google Using A Privacy Double Standard?
At a conference in Berlin Google’s global privacy counsel Peter Fleischer offered a window into Google’s “right to be forgotten” (RTBF) decision-making process: The requests . . . first go to a large team of lawyers, paralegals and engineers who decide the easy cases . . . Google has dozens of people working on the requests, mostly out of the company’s European headquarters in Dublin, a Google spokesman said . . . The harder ones get bumped up to the senior Google panel. Like many Google meetings, some participants are in a conference room, while others join remotely through the company’s Hangouts video-chat product, a spokesman said. Sometimes the group calls in outside experts, such as lawyers with particular specialties. Fleischer added that following the discussion of each case the assembled group votes. It’s important to point out that individuals whose RTBF requests are denied can appeal to their local data protection authorities for … [Read more...] about Demanding More Detail, Legal Group Calls On Google To Disclose RTBF Criteria
The French privacy authority, the Commission Nationale de l’informatique et des Libertés (CNIL), has taken an extreme and potentially dangerous position that unwittingly supports internet censorship. CNIL, and others in Europe, have repeatedly demanded that links expunged from the search index under Europe’s “Right to Be Forgotten” law (RTBF) be removed from all of Google’s indexes globally. The position is based on the notion that individual country domain removals can be circumvented by going to Google.com. Google has resisted removing RTBF content on a global basis on the grounds that it represents regulatory overreach and that citizens of other countries should not be subject to French or European law. Previously, Google said that it would limit RTBF to European users: We’ve been working hard to strike the right balance in implementing the European Court’s ruling, co-operating closely with data protection authorities. The ruling … [Read more...] about French privacy regulator fines Google for not removing RTBF links outside of Europe
It’s a bad privacy day for Google, with Privacy International first accusing the company of having the worst privacy performance of any internet service company in a study it has just released and then accusing Google of conducting a smear campaign against it. But if you actually read the report, Privacy International itself comes off bad for putting out a haphazard condemnation of Google. Let’s do the smear campaign accusation first. An Open Letter to Google from the group says that Google is talking to journalists and implying that Privacy International favors Microsoft: Two European journalists have independently told us that Google representatives have contacted them with the claim that “Privacy International has a conflict of interest regarding Microsoft”. I presume this was motivated because Microsoft scored an overall better result than Google in the rankings…. According to our sources, your representative or representatives made particular … [Read more...] about Google Bad On Privacy? Maybe It’s Privacy International’s Report That Sucks