Google is reportedly planning to to move accounts of its British users to a US jurisdiction, opening up the sensitive information of tens of millions of Brits to UK authorities.
Reuters cites three people familiar with the plans, reporting that British accounts would be removed from their current holding under the control of EU privacy regulators since the UK is no longer a member of the bloc.
The European Union is known for having some of the world’s strictest data protection laws with General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), whereas the US has some of the weakest for a major economy.
The US has also recently introduced the Cloud Act, which could eventually make it easier for UK authorities to access data of British users for criminal investigations.
Reuters understands that Google intends to make users acknowledge the terms of the changes.
The move was prompted by Britain’s departure from the European Union ahead of negotiations between the UK and the EU on the movement of information across borders.
Just two weeks ago Google warned shareholders that Britain’s departure from the European Union may hamper its revenue and subject the company to new regulatory fines and technical challenges relating to the transfer of personal data between the two countries.
A Google spokesman said: “Like many companies, we have to prepare for Brexit. Nothing about our services or our approach to privacy will change, including how we collect or process data, and how we respond to law enforcement demands for users’ information. The protections of the UK General Data Protection Regulation will still apply to these users.”