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Monday, September 27, 2021

Privacy vs law enforcement concerns: ‘Have processes to respond to government requests,’ says Kristie Canegello

A significant development that has blurred the lines between user privacy and addressing broader law enforcement concerns happened earlier this month when iPhone maker Apple decided it will scan photographs on the devices of its users to check for content that could be classified as Child Sexual Abuse Material.

Written by Pranav Mukul | New Delhi |
August 26, 2021 3:43:26 am
Google, Google Images,Google launched a series of initiatives aimed at stepping up the safety of internet users. (File Photo)

At a time when technology companies are globally caught between law enforcement and government requests to clamp down on alleged criminal activities, and ensuring the privacy and security of their users, internet giant Google believes the fine balance between the two comes from giving users the control of their data and being transparent about responses to government requests.

“It does get to the way we believe we should be building our products — building security into our products, making them private by default but also giving users control. So much of the work that we are doing is how to make it simpler for users who are accessing technology to understand that there are risks inherent in a Gmail message they are reading by putting in place clear warnings and protections. And while we are focussed on safety and security, we are also focussed on privacy and protecting user’s data,” Kristie Canegallo, Google’s Vice President—Trust and Safety, told reporters.

A significant development that has blurred the lines between user privacy and addressing broader law enforcement concerns happened earlier this month when iPhone maker Apple decided it will scan photographs on the devices of its users to check for content that could be classified as Child Sexual Abuse Material. This move put spotlight once again on governments and law enforcement authorities seeking a backdoor into encrypted services, and was criticised by digital privacy advocates.

“We are, of course, transparent about the sorts of requests we might get from governments. We have policies and processes that we would be using to respond to government requests and we have a transparency report with respect to any government request we receive,” Canegello said Wednesday.

Google launched a series of initiatives aimed at stepping up the safety of internet users. From the perspective of safety of internet users, Canegallo said India presented a unique challenge in terms of the scale of individuals coming online for the first time. Specifically, she said, one of the areas Google was focussing its efforts was prevention of financial fraud.

She said, “The challenges that India poses is just by the virtue of the scale of users coming online, I’d say this is somewhat unique.”

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