Google Threatens To Shut German Google Mail; Blames Germany’s Own Privacy Laws

Google’s global privacy counsel Peter Fleischer has warned the company may have to close its Google Mail service in Germany – because new government legislation does not afford citizens freedom of speech. It’s audacious – Google this month agreed to curtail the length of time it keeps users’ search records after concerns from an EU data protection watchdog that last week announced it would expand its inquiry. Schooled partly in Munich, Fleischer spoke out on proposed justice department laws, designed to combat terrorism, that would compel services to identify users by matching data to names (see Wirtschafts Woche). But his comment appears to drive a wedge between the EU and one of its key member states: “Many users around the globe make use of this anonymity to defend themselves from spam, or government repression of free speech … If the web community won