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Google Threatens to Close German Gmail Due to Local Law  (View post)

stefan2904 [PersonRank 10]

Saturday, June 23, 2007
12 years ago7,227 views

if they do it in Germany, they do it also for Austria and maybe Switzerland. like flickr, i need a 'safe place'

JohnMu [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

Yikes!

What does "close" mean? Do we (you – I'm in Switzerland, hehe) have to use a proxy to access it or will the accounts be deleted?

stefan2904 [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

yes, thats a point. what embarrass me to create an account and claim to be from, for example, Italy?

0 [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

Germany sucks!! Sorry about that. and their asinine laws.

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

> create an account and claim to be from, for example, Italy?

Google did geolocation before though to hide content in Germany that's visible in other places (e.g. they did this for certain Google Books scan of public domain works, and they can also do this within Google Video, if the video uploader requests this).

Colin Colehour [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

Can they host the email data in other countries so that the German government cannot enforce the new laws? Similar to how Google handles Orkut data.

stefan2904 [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

[put at-character here]Philipp: Then i use a proxy once while creating account.

Elias Kai [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

I think Sweden has a similar law but none has claimed any case-

jhlhgkj [PersonRank 1]

12 years ago #

I don't think they will just delete it like google watch blog said. They could just delocalize it and basically offer it in the US.

Germany can't force US mail systems to adopt this policy (which is stupid: stop it germany)

good move google

Veky [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

Well, they got what they asked for. "Complying with local laws and policies" might sound good at one moment, but those laws and policies are very likely to change. It's not so bad when transient services like old-style web search are in danger, but with personalized services with permanent data, it's a real pain. If I got it right, Google wants to record our whole lives. What do they think, that the whole world will stay the same legally during next 50 years? Google really should act like an USA company (or, if they are brave enough, a Sealand company;), and quit the "international" charade.

Bob Jones [PersonRank 2]

12 years ago #

Well thanks to the EU, Fuhr Merkel is in charge of essentially all of Europe – lets wait for her to try this crap here.

Once a dictator ...

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

> Can they host the email data in other countries
> so that the German government cannot enforce the
> new laws?

Where do they currently host this?

This isn't the only highly annoying thing coming from German government lately, by the way. If you speak German:
heise.de/newsticker/meldung/91 ...
The German minister of the interior says the (secret*) searches of online accounts are "absolutely necessary." Again the reason given is "islamic terrorism." It's actually controversial whether or not these supervision laws are constitutional here. Almost needless to say, this German government and past ones also support laws that restrict freedom of speech online (e.g. by promoting central censorship databases for local search engines).

*Perhaps similar to that Patriot Act clause which, under certain circumstances, makes it illegal for IT companies to even mention they've been polled for user data.

Darnell Clayton [PersonRank 1]

12 years ago #

Gee, that sucks.

Although I doubt Google would "delete" the data, just merely relocate it (although I bet you they have already begun to do this--if not, hurry up Google!)

Amagi Tremper [PersonRank 3]

12 years ago #

Germany is indeed having some bad headlines on online privacy in the last couple of months and years. Rumour about the so called "Bundestrojaner" (A governmental trojan to spy on whatever), forced modification on great proxy software (JAP) longer and longer storage of your online history. Its really somewhat filthy!

Brinke Guthrie [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

techcrunch.com/2007/06/23/goog ...

Frenchy [PersonRank 1]

12 years ago #

Any relation with the non localization of YouTube in Germany?

Colin Colehour [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

Another blow to Gmail in Germany occurred recently. Google lost a trademark court case over the Gmail name in Germany. Daniel Giersch, brought the court case against Google.

"Giersch runs an electronic postal delivery business that goes by the name G-mail, which is short for "Giersch mail." Giersch says he only wants to use the trademark in Germany, Switzerland, Norway and Monaco."

news.com.com/8301-10784_3-9733 ...

Mahesh Sharma [PersonRank 0]

12 years ago #

I'm from Australia and there are implications here for businesses that host company information in the US. It's interesting to think that this may also extend to consumers.

heiko hebig [PersonRank 0]

12 years ago #

"According to information from Heise" isn't entirely correct since in the linked article at Heise they say: "in einem Interview mit der Wirtschaftswoche". But thanks for pushing this into the English blogosphere.

Tadeusz Szewczyk [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

Who needs Germany? Google does not. Just a small market compared to others. Especially if you talk about webmail but also e-mail as a whole. But I wonder: What about all those other Google services? You need GMail to use them. Without GMail, will they still work with other authentification? Google Docs and Spreadheets, Google Analytics and Google Page Creator?

Werner Nieke [PersonRank 1]

12 years ago #

[put at-character here]Tadeusz: Thanks for disposing of us from the free world so readily – that's the spirit! Forgive me for not running to your aid when you will be asked to confirm your personal information to YOUR government...

However, I agree on the aspect that losing Germany as a market shouldn't have too great an effect on big G's numbers. But aren't you seeing the larger picture? The web in general was considered a "control free" zone for a long time, given its somewhat "chaotic" nature and structure. And now governments attempt to coerce control and undermining areas of privacy by writing themselves a carte blanche in the name of fighting global terrorism...
That's what's beginning to worry me the most. Yahoo owned flickr (flickr.com/help/forum/en-us/43 ...) readily adopted a sweeping filtering mechanism to avoid lawsuits for possible violations of the Jugendschutzgesetz, Yahoo have disclosed personal account data (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shi_Tao) without even one attempt to resist that request by the Chinese government and thus effectively turned in Shi Tao, a reporter who had been using his Yahoo email account to get a report into the free world.

Now Google seems to be joining into the self-imposed censorship without even attempting to resist our government's efforts to gain even more access to personal data... I guess that means, we can't count on the big players to stand up for us and protect our data.

This has me rethink the entire "social web" idea and view it in a completely new light: Aren't we making ourselves an open book in the first place by sharing our thoughts on all of it here and elsewhere?

Shit... – this sucks.

Frenchy [PersonRank 1]

12 years ago #

Tadeusz > Don't confuse Gmail accounts with Google accounts. You do not need a Gmail account to use Docs & Spreadsheets or Analytics, but a Google Account.

Thomas Kuhn [PersonRank 0]

12 years ago #

Hi folks,

being the original author of the story mentioned I'm glad to follow the discussion here. One little correction anyway.

The original story was not published at heise.de. It originates from the German business weekly "WirtschaftsWoche".

If anyone wants to read it (in German), you will find it here: wiwo.de/pswiwo/fn/ww2/sfn/buil ...

Best

Thomas

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

> Who needs Germany? Google does not. Just a
> small market compared to others.

These numbers from 2001-2003 are outdated, but I think it shows that Germany is not a small market compared to others (maybe it's a small market compared to *all others combined*):


blogoscoped.com/files/google-z ...



(Source: Google's own Zeitgeist report)

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

(Thanks Heiko and Thomas, I added an update.)

Ton Zijlstra [PersonRank 0]

12 years ago #

So how does this relate to the German 'Telemedien' law that specifically says (i think its paragraph 13) that on-line services are required under law to provide anonymous use of their service, and are also required to point this option of anonymous use out to their customers?

TOMHTML [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

to block Gmail in Germany because it's anonymous? It's as stupid as blocking Blackberry because it's an American product... oh shit, French government is against Blackberry in its ministries...

Tadeusz Szewczyk [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

Germany right now has tighter control over the internet than China it seems to me. Even bloggers are not allowed t post anonymously anymore. In China they can as far as I know.
The whole German internet is under constant survillance and in the near future the police and other state authorities will even be allowed to break into your computer with trojan horses and read all of your privately stored data. We have new anti-terrorist measures almost daily. As if 9-11 has happened a week ago in Berlin.

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

Minister of interior Schäuble issues constant "terrist threat" warnings for Germany. Strategically this is very effective as you can't easily argue with that in terms of "I believe you're using this 'threat' as an alibi to push through your agenda," because:
- if nothing "terroristical" happens, Schäuble can say "it's because of our raised security and awareness, and our great counter-measurements"
- if something "terroristical" does happen, Schäuble can say "See I told you, we're living under a very serious terrorist threat, and that's why we need these laws"

Reto Meier [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

Same rubbish here in England. On the plus side, you can work out your own 'terror alert levels' by listening to the announcements on the trains. For a long time after the 7/7 tube bombings all the alerts were along the lines of 'Do not leave any personal belongings unattended on the train or platform. Any unattended items will be removed and may be destroyed.'.

As of a few weeks ago I think the terror threat lowered. Now the messages say, 'Beggars occasionally board trains. Do not encourage them by giving them money. If you see a beggar on this train, please alert a member of staff.'.

So apparently now the 'threat' of the poor outweighs the threat of parcel bombs.

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

Spiegel clarifies just what Google is afraid of reg. the laws that ought to "go live" in early 2008. My rough translation:

<<The German plans for precautionary data savings request more from email providers than the European union guidelines which they are supposed to implement. According to the government's law draft, email providers should be requested to provide automated means for the state administration to query name, address and date of birth of the email provider's clients.

Furthermore, the draft (which the upper house of the German parliament didn't oppose) request that email providers will save the following information for six months:

* When an email is sent, the IP address of the sender and recipient, as well as the date and time
* Upon arrival of the message: the date and time, as well as the IP address of the sender, and the email address of the recipient and sender
* When the email account is accessed: the date and time as well as the IP address of the account user>>

(Is it even possible to get all these IP addresses...?)

spiegel.de/netzwelt/web/0,1518 ...

JohnMu [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

In Switzerland ISPs are also required to keep track of sender (+ IP address), adressee, date/time and subject of all emails sent out. (see also symlink.ch/articles/02/05/13/0 ... – I couldn't find anything better on the fly). oh, it also requires that providers keep their clocks +/-5 seconds in sync :-).

It leaves soooo many loopholes – eg when I host my own mail server, or one for 1000 friends... Are criminals that use the web really this clueless? I bet a lot still are. I'm not sure if I feel good about that, lol.

dexter [PersonRank 0]

12 years ago #

very interesting. having sympathies for anyone defending my right for anonymity, i still have to wonder how this could be google, the company that over the last years has been building the most sophisticated infrastructure against my anonymity ever...

...plus i'm somewhat amused remembering "do no evil" within this context – according to schäuble, you're doing evil if not disclosing your identity with every post. nice example of "well, it depends"... a commercial company is about to define global ethics... let's see where that will lead us to ;-)

Jan Klaus [PersonRank 0]

12 years ago #

Well, Google makes more difficulties in Germany than in China...
It sounds like: if you ever sew American citizens (read soldiers) to bring before (military or civilian) court, they'll be liberated (read by force).
I think both originate from the US, where some people still think they can do whatever they like regardless democratic voted laws (isn't that part of the Constitution too?).
Well, it's a free world, and if you obey to the law you don't have to be afraid of anything or anybody.
Google, just obey to democratic voted laws.
Showing respect for a person and/or for his possessions is what we call in Europe,a multicultural attitude which will give you respect back.
A lot of conflicts coudl be resolved that way (also religious)
And by the way,isn't Google keeping your data for its own (commercial) purposes?

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