But, he asked me, why do Europeans trust the governments that in recent past turned against them and keep giving them huge amount of personal data but don’t trust the corporations? It’s not rational, he commented.
I think the main reason why Europeans people (still) trust governments is that both share the same cultural background: governments know how to persuade, mediate and communicate directly to their people and spin the most awful controlling measures into ‘good things’. Think of the Telecamera Amica (the ‘friendly camera’) in Florence: every corner of the city has these surveillance devices. It’s a videocamera but it’s not a friend. The city marketed as a security/prevention system, people feel better but as a result they get just more traffic tickets. Another horrible example is the Data Retention Directive, defined as “the most privacy-invasive instrument” by the European Data Protector Supervisor.
My short answer is that it would probably be more effective not to treat the perception of privacy as a rational/irrational issue. I would approach this more with the tools of marketing and diplomacy than with those of the law, working on improving the perception of Google and its tools within European people. For example, increase the visibility of projects like dataportability.org, be a champion of transparency. And, if possible, loosen up the image of the big
colonizer corporation from Silicon Valley and be more humble, mingle as a European company.