But countries have cracked down anyway. In France and Austria, customers of Google’s web measurement software, Google Analytics, which many sites use to collect audience figures, were warned this year not to use the program again because it could expose Europeans’ personal data to American espionage.
Last year, the French government scrapped a deal with Microsoft to handle health-related data after authorities came under fire for awarding a contract to a US company. Officials have promised to work with local businesses instead.
Companies have adapted. Microsoft said it was taking steps to make it easier for customers to store data in certain geographies. Amazon Web Services, the largest cloud computing service, says it gives customers control over where data is stored in Europe
In France, Spain and Germany, Google Cloud last year signed agreements with local technology and telecommunications providers so customers can ensure that local companies keep an eye on their data when using Google products.
“We want to meet them wherever they are,” said Ksenia Duxfield-Karyakina, who leads Google Cloud’s European public policy operations.
Liam Maxwell, director of government transformation at Amazon Web Services, said in a statement that the company will adapt to European regulations but customers should be able to purchase cloud services based on their needs, “not limited by where the technology provider is headquartered.”
Max Schrems, an Austrian privacy activist who has won a lawsuit against Facebook over its data-sharing practices, said there was a growing dispute over digital information. He predicts that the US-EU data agreement announced by Biden will again be overturned by the European Court of Justice for still failing to meet EU privacy standards.
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