Google proposes changes in laws for requesting data

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Nowadays, requests for private user data as part of investigations has become a contentious issue with the tech companies and the governments. Normally, when a government or its law enforcement agency wants to seek data held on a server abroad, it must request the data through official channels within the country where that server is located to help obtain the information.


Google thinks that such laws need an overhaul and governments should be able to make these kinds of requests directly to the companies that have access to the data. It suggests that in order to qualify for these kinds of direct access, countries would have to adhere to certain standards of due process, human rights, and privacy.

In a speech given to the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, Google's senior vice president and general counsel, Kent Walker, outlined reasons for the proposed change. “We believe these reforms would not only help law enforcement conduct more effective investigations but also encourage countries to improve and align on privacy and due process standards,” Walker said.

He proposed a new framework that Google has developed that reportedly strikes a better balance between privacy and the government's legitimate need to obtain information from Internet providers for law enforcement purposes.


"The laws that govern evidence-gathering on the Internet were written before the Information Revolution," Walker said. "These rules are due for a fundamental realignment in light of the rapid growth of technology that relies on the cloud the very real security threats that face people and communities."

The Google proposal also calls on the US Congress to codify a standard for search warrants for content from Internet companies. Many countries currently lack robust standards and safeguards for government access to customer data stored in the cloud. The US, as home some of the world's largest Internet companies are based should take the lead in codifying a warrant standard, the Google proposal said.

Whether the US government will take action is uncertain, but the European Commission is currently working on a similar legal reboot.