Google Gmail service violated Italian law, reports

An Italian prosecutor has accused Google of violating Italian and European regulations in the way it handles its email communications, the Corriere della Sera newspaper reported Monday.

Share

An Italian prosecutor has accused Google of violating Italian and European regulations in the way it handles its email communications, the Corriere della Sera newspaper reported Monday.

The criticism was contained in a letter sent to fellow prosecutors in Milan by public prosecutor Corrado Carnevali. The letter claimed Google's practices "were not in conformity with Italian law from numerous points of view," Corriere della Sera reported.

Carnevali was reportedly commenting on a letter from Google vice president for legal affairs Nicole Wong setting out the US company's privacy procedures and policies. The confidential letter reportedly stated that Google reserved the right to exercise its own discretion over whether to provide information to judicial investigators "even in emergency circumstances involving the imminent danger of death or grave physical injuries."

Carnevali took note of the policy "with profound sorrow," he said in his letter.

The Milan prosecutor reportedly criticised Google's policy of retaining the data relating to its Gmail accounts for a mere 30 days, rather than the 12 months mandated by a 2006 directive from the European Union (EU) and an Italian law passed in May 2008. The 30-day data retention "has no justification in law and involves, by its brevity, an evident harm to IT investigations."

Google's refusal to communicate the IP addresses of its e-mail users located outside the European Union was also harmful for investigations, Carnevali said in his letter, given that EU-based criminals could easily make use of e-mail accounts located outside the European Union.

Find your next job with computerworld UK jobs