Consider Google’s motto: “Don’t be evil.” Have you ever stopped to think about that motto? Isn’t it a little bit like Richard Nixon saying “I am not a crook”? Does it not sound like a reassurance intended to refute that which is true? “Give the lady what she wants”—now there’s a motto that confirms that a company’s priority is the customer. But why would a truly good corporation need to urge its employees not to be evil? And what about the choice of the word evil? Why choose the extreme? No, “Don’t be evil” is something a serial killer my say to himself when his killing is out of control. Good people don’t need to tell themselves not to be evil.
Google has admitted complying with requests from US intelligence agencies for data stored in its European data centers, most likely in violation of European Union data protection laws.
Gordon Frazer, Microsoft UK’s managing director, made news headlines some weeks ago when he admitted that Microsoft can be compelled to share data with the US government regardless of where it is hosted in the world.
At the center of this problem is the USA PATRIOT ACT, which states that companies incorporated in the United States must hand over data administered by their foreign subsidiaries if requested.
Not only that, but they can be forced to keep quiet about it in order to avoid exposing active investigations and alert those targeted by the probes.
This situation poses a serious problem for companies like Microsoft, Google or Amazon, which offer cloud services around the world, because their subsidiaries must also respect local laws.
Read the rest at Softpedia.