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Google agrees to compliance reforms to prevent search warrant data loss

The US Department of Justice said Tuesday it reached an agreement with Alphabet Inc’s Google to resolve a dispute.

The U.S. Department of Justice said Tuesday it had reached an agreement with Alphabet Inc’s Google to resolve a dispute with the search engine giant over data loss over a 2016 search warrant.

The government said it was a “first of its kind resolution” that would lead Google “to reform its legal process compliance program to ensure timely and complete responses to legal proceedings, such as subpoenas and search warrants.”

“The department is committed to ensuring that electronic communications providers comply with court orders to protect and facilitate criminal investigations,” said Assistant Attorney General Kenneth Polite, head of the Justice Department’s criminal division.

The settlement demonstrated the department’s “determination to ensure that tech companies, such as Google, provide prompt and complete responses to legal processes to ensure public safety and bring violators to justice,” he added.

Google said it had “a long track record of protecting the privacy of our users, including curbing overly broad government requirements for user data, and this agreement in no way changes our ability or commitment to continue to do so.” .”

The company told a US court it had spent more than $90 million “on additional resources, systems and personnel to implement improvements in its legal process compliance program.”

The Justice Department said an independent compliance professional will be hired to serve as an outside third party regarding Google’s compliance upgrades.

In 2016, the United States obtained a California search warrant for data held with Google related to the investigation of the criminal cryptocurrency exchange BTC-e, the department said.

Later, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled that search warrants issued under the Stored Communications Act (SCA) did not cover data stored outside the United States.

In 2018, Congress clarified that the SCA did cover U.S. providers that chose to store data abroad, but the administration said that “in the meantime, data responding to the order was lost,” the ministry said. of Justice.

Google will collect compliance program reports and updates to the government, the Google Compliance Steering Committee and Alphabet’s governance committees.

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