Google’s power and the governmentBack
Due to new policy, the Dutch government is allowed to store all our bank account numbers, social security numbers, income and name and address details on Google's computers. Google can then analyze this data using its latest algorithms. In Bob Hardus' book ‘De Google formule’, this situation is compared to Germany's dependence on Russian gas, but in terms of data.
The writer says in the magazine 'Binnenlands Bestuur'.
“It is alarming that governments will soon be allowed to use Google's storage capacity and Workspace products. Research by the government in 2021 showed that there was insufficient description of what happens to the personal data from accounts and there was too little transparency about data in a broad sense. New agreements have been made with Google, but we do not know what those agreements entail. If you ask what Google specifically plans to do to cover the risks, you will be sent a white-painted document.”
“Another risk is that Google does not distinguish between government data and other data. It sends all data through one data stream. Why is it not possible to keep government data separate from commercial data? Place an extra container with the label 'government' on it.”
Exchange of data
“And there is a vendor lock lurking. You put your data in one system and if you no longer want to use that system, you cannot get out without many problems and high costs. The possibility of data transfer is mandatory under the European Digital Markets Act. Data can be exchanged between Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud and Amazon Web Services, but not with Gaia-X (the European cloud in the making) or a Dutch player. Another solution seems almost lost sight of, because the technical backlog is too great. That is why it is important to be vigilant right now.”
“And finally there are doubts about the reliability of the promises that Google makes. A number of times, Google has made promises "hand on heart" that it later failed to keep. Such as with the DoubleClick advertising platform that Google bought in 2007. The EU then set the condition that the data would never be connected. That happened last year. What can we do in the future if Google thinks that they no longer have to comply with the agreements? Nothing, because at that moment we can no longer get our data out. Then the government has a structural problem.”
Effective privacy law
But just yesterday, a Dutch court ruled that Facebook violated the privacy of Dutch users of the platform, because it did not inform users well enough about what the platform does with their data. The privacy law prescribes that it must always be made clear why and for what purpose certain privacy-sensitive data are processed. No data from Dutch users may therefore be shared or used to offer advertisements without legally valid permission. Fortunately, this indicates that companies are not allowed to violate the privacy law just like that.