The age of Internet anonymity is coming to a close in Europe. Germany has recently drafted legislation would require telecommunications providers to collect and keep private information on their German customers for six months, reports Tech Spot.
The German Parliament is considering legislation to require ISPs and email service providers store information on users' mailing and internet habits. This information would be used to identify individual users suspected of criminal and terrorist activities.
Google, which has been criticized for keeping user data for far too long, said the company would pull the plug on Google Mail, as its known in Germany.
"Many users around the globe make use of this anonymity to defend themselves from spam or government repression of free speech," said Peter Fleischer, Google's Global Privacy Counsel, to the German business magazine Wirtschaftswoche. "If the Web community won't trust us with handling their data with great care, we'll go down in no time." As an emergency measure, he said -- rather than change the product -- "we would shut off Google Mail in Germany."
So is Google a privacy bad guy, or defender of privacy rights? It all depends on how the search giant sees its interests.