Google executives need to be taught that they are not above British privacy laws, according to riled V3 readers.
Earlier this week, the search giant claimed it does not need to abide by UK privacy laws, after law firm Olswang brought a High Court case accusing Google of bypassing the Apple iPhone's built-in security settings to monitor and collect users' personal information through the Safari browser.
But V3 readers responded angrily to Google's claims, and called on the UK government to take action against the firm to ensure it follows national privacy law.
One reader said he found the comments slightly racist, showing Google to view Brits as second-class citizens. "[Google is] far too big for its boots in my opinion and needs taking down to reality. First, if it affects a British citizen then you can be tried in a court of law, American or not. Second, as a British citizen I find Google's remark offensive and racially slurring. It should be prosecuted for that alone," he wrote.
The sentiment was mirrored by V3 reader Archie Lukas, who called for a boycott of Google's services in protest. "As a British citizen, I too am offended by Google's racist attitude and disregard of basic human rights to privacy," he wrote. "I opt out of every Google privacy option, I encourage all others to do the same. Starve the buggers."
Outside of a boycott of Google's services, a multitude of readers reiterated law firm Olswang's argument that fines alone are not sufficient punishment for privacy breaches. Another reader went so far as to say that Google executives should be held personally accountable for privacy breaches.
"Fines do not work. What is needed is a form of criminal probation of the senior management of the company after the company has been fined a few times, which will put them on probation for five years. If the company breaches the law again then they should go to jail for up to three years depending on the gravity of the breach of law," he commented.
"A minimum jail sentence of six months would be adequate to focus their attention on observing values, ethics and standards common around the world."
Fellow commenter Ian Moyse added that punishment alone will not fully solve the problem, arguing that the scenario proves the need for more non-US based competition. "The giant vendors will consider themselves above the law and that customers won't have much choice, but where there is choice customers may choose to quickly switch to alternative providers and in a cloud world this is easier than we have seen before," he said.
"Many USA firms only host in the USA and do not even make this visible to clients unless they push to ask. Cloud needs more openness, more understanding of customers' concerns and vendors to be more appreciative of the choice customers have."
Google's claim that British laws do not apply to it is one of many controversial statements to come from the search giant in recent weeks. Google also claimed last week that Gmail users should not expect privacy in a US court case.
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