If you’re from the UK, you’ll soon no longer be protected by EU data laws. EU data laws are some of the most aggressive and protective in the whole world.
Google will soon be moving all data and user accounts of British users. They are set to move this data and information from the EU to the US, which will mean that UK users are no longer protected by the strict privacy rules offered by European regulators.
This change is occurring because of Brexit, and will mean that sensitive data is more easily within-reach of UK law enforcement.
As reported by the Guardian, this could be bad news for UK residents.
Does that mean that Google will use my data differently?
In short, no:
“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”
What does change is who your data is protected by. If you’re from the UK, you’ll no longer be protected by EU data laws. EU data laws are some of the most aggressive and protective in the whole world.
The Republic of Ireland, which is staying in the EU, will still be protected by these laws.
“It is understood that Google decided to move its British users out of Irish jurisdiction because it is unclear whether Britain will follow GDPR or adopt other rules that could affect the handling of user data.”
Like many issues relating to Brexit, things are looking a little unclear, hence Google’s shift.
Had British Google users’ data been kept in Ireland, British authorities might have struggled to access it during criminal investigations.
It will be easier for UK authorities to access this information from the US because of the US’ recently-introduced Cloud Act. The US has the weakest privacy protection of any major economy. There are no broad laws in the country despite many pushes by advocacy groups.
How much data does Google have?
A huge amount. They have one of the world’s biggest stores of data. Google use the data to sell services and to tailor advertising.
What are digital rights groups saying about the move?
Jim Killock, executive director of digital rights organisation Open Rights Group, had this to say:
“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.”
“Google’s decision should worry everyone who thinks tech companies are too powerful and know too much about us.”
This transfer is likely to be a complicated process.
Other sites who also hold data on UK citizens will soon have to make similar decisions. Facebook, which have a similar setup to Google, have not yet commented on what their next steps will be.