Google

Google Urges Congress to Revise Outdated Overseas Data Laws

The push comes after a series of contradictory rulings in the U.S.
3 min read
This story originally appeared on Engadget

Access to data stored overseas has become a contentious issue with tech companies and the U.S. government. In a speech given yesterday to the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, Google's senior vice president and general counsel, Kent Walker, urged Congress to update the laws concerning this topic.

On this front, Microsoft scored a major victory last year. A New York court ruled that the company had to release data stored on servers located in Ireland, but that was later overturned by a federal appeals court. In January of this year, the court narrowly decided not to rehear the case and the U.S. Justice Department has until the end of this week to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court.

But after the decision in the Microsoft case, other courts reached opposing rulings in similar trials. In February, a U.S. District Court in Pennsylvania ruled that Google had to comply with an FBI warrant to hand over data stored on an overseas server. And additional cases involving Google and Yahoo came to similar conclusions in WisconsinFlorida and California.

After the ruling against Google in Pennsylvania, a brief written in support of the company was filed by Apple, Amazon and Microsoft. In it, they make a statement that speaks to Walker's announcement today.

The document says, "Equally troubling, it invites foreign nations to reciprocate by likewise demanding that local offices of U.S. technology companies turn over U.S. citizens' private communications stored on U.S. soil," and adds, "Only Congress can update the Stored Communications Act to reflect the new technological landscape while at the same time appropriately balancing relevant interests. Congress should promptly do so; but until it does, courts may not extend the SCA to reach data stored in another sovereign country."

Similar to those statements, Walker today urged Congress to change relevant laws, making it clear what tech companies are to do when faced with government requests for data. He also proposed that the U.S. should allow countries that commit to privacy and human rights to directly request data from U.S. companies without have to first consult with the U.S. government. Walker added that oppressive regimes should not be eligible.

Whether Congress will take action is unclear, but the EU is currently working on a similar legal reboot.

More from Entrepreneur

Are paying too much for business insurance? Do you have critical gaps in your coverage? Trust Entrepreneur to help you find out.
Get Your Quote Now

One-on-one online sessions with our experts can help you start a business, grow your business, build your brand, fundraise and more.
Book Your Session

Whether you are launching or growing a business, we have all the business tools you need to take your business to the next level, in one place.
Enroll Now

Latest on Entrepreneur

My Queue

There are no Videos in your queue.

Click on the Add to next to any video to save to your queue.

There are no Articles in your queue.

Click on the Add to next to any article to save to your queue.

There are no Podcasts in your queue.

Click on the Add to next to any podcast episode to save to your queue.

You're not following any authors.

Click the Follow button on any author page to keep up with the latest content from your favorite authors.

Google Employees Push Back on Censored China Search Engine