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Google buffering data protection support for European Apps customers and businesses

Google has declared that it will now offer model clauses contracts to companies using its Apps services as part of a drive to better comply with European Commission data protection legislation.

The new frameworks being provided by Mountain View should mean that any potentially sensitive information about European customers held by, or on behalf of, the search giant will be subject to data security measures deemed acceptable by European regulators - even if it the material is being stored outside of EU remit.

Marc Crandall, Google's senior manager of global compliance, ventured that with the proliferation of cloud services, it was becoming increasingly important to simplify acceptance of data protection initiatives, in order to reassure customers and empower businesses.

"Over four million businesses use Google Apps, and as this number grows, we want to offer our customers a range of compliance options to help them meet their regulatory requirements," Mr Crandall said.

At present, personal data can swiftly and slyly transfer from areas under European Data Protection Directive coverage to data centres that fall outside the law.

A legal expert with specialist knowledge of data protection issues says that Google's actions show that it considers the digital privacy of its clients to be a matter of the umost seriousness.

"[It is] a shrewd move. Google is sending out a message to the wider community that it is serious about privacy issues. It is a constructive approach to compliance and that must be a good thing." said Stewart Room, a partner at Field Fisher Waterhouse.

Recently, issues of privacy have taken centre stage in the digital world. Google in particular has been at the centre of the electronic storm, facing persistent accusations about the data gathering methods of its Maps and Street View features, but also garnering the approval of auditing firm Ernst & Young in regards to its information security measures.