Google Lobbying For Oversight Over Requests For Foreign Data

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Google is increasing its lobbying efforts aimed at instilling more oversight over government requests for foreign data, i.e. information stored on overseas servers. The latest push from the Mountain View, California-based Internet giant came on Thursday, as the company's General Counsel and Senior Vice President Kent Walker outlined a new legal framework that Google wants to see implemented by the United States government. While speaking at a Washington, D.C. gathering of the Heritage Foundation, Walker criticized the U.S. administration's ability to successfully request access to overseas data with little basis, as well as the speed of the proceedings themselves, calling for a revision of old electronic communications legislation that would provide the government with fewer liberties when it comes to making such demands to private companies, but also allow authorities to obtain data based on legitimate requests in a swifter manner.

The Alphabet-owned tech giant has been pushing for similar legislation on the Old Continent for a while now, repeatedly stating that frequent government requests for customer data stored in foreign countries are often a massive violation of user privacy, regardless of whether it's legal or not. Google previously argued that such practices will ultimately eliminate the notion of user privacy, and Walker echoed those sentiments during his yesterday's speech in the capital. Microsoft, Apple, and a number of other Silicon Valley heavyweights have been lobbying for similar goals in recent years, though none of them have had much success so far.

The company was often quick to point out that it isn't arguing against all data requests but simply seeks a contemporary legal framework that would specifically define such demands in an effort to ensure that all petitions are reasonable. Google's ongoing campaign against data request warrants issued on the basis of what it deems are outdated laws has yet to produce concrete suggestions and it's currently unclear when is the firm planning to detail its ideas and propose particular solutions. Apart from protecting user privacy, the tech giant also wants upcoming laws to speed up the process of issuing legitimate warrants that could potentially help prevent acts of terrorism, Walker stated, adding that "this couldn't be a more urgent set of issues." An update on Google's lobbying efforts and other endeavors is expected to follow in the coming weeks.

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Dominik started at AndroidHeadlines in 2016. He’s approaching his first full decade in the media industry, with his background being primarily in technology, gaming, and entertainment. These days, his focus is more on the political side of the tech game, as well as data privacy issues, with him looking at both of those through the prism of Android. Contact him at [email protected]

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