Google might be a little too cozy with the White House and federal legislators, but over in Europe the internet giant is facing pressure from multiple governments to change its now infamous modus operandi or face sanctions across the European Union. The grievances, from states including France, Spain and the UK, now mounting against Google, range from privacy concerns to accusations of large scale tax evasion.

Unlike Anglo-American efforts to spy on each other's citizens through the controversial PRISM program recently uncovered by Booz Allen whistleblower Edward Snowden, France is less tolerant towards invasions of its citizens' privacy by unscrupulous multinationals. The French government, currently run by Parti Socialiste's leader President Francois Hollande, has warned Google that it has three months to tighten up its privacy policy before internet regulators CNIL push through with sanctions. CNIL have stated that Google must update its privacy literature by making it clearer which data is being stored and for how long. It must also request users' permission to store cookies on their devices and set reasonable limits on data storage.

Meanwhile, Spain's embattled and increasingly repressive government under Mariano Rajoy might perhaps be grateful to be mounting a similar offensive against Google to briefly distract its newspapers from the pain Rajoy's neoliberal policies are inflicting on his citizens. Unemployment in Spain has now gone above 27%, resulting partly from the impact of the financial crisis that has caused chaos through the southern half of the Eurozone and partly from Rajoy's mandate-less austerity project. Joblessness for Spain's furious under-25 population has reached a crippling 57%. Seeing an opportunity to change the national conversation, Rajoy's government acted within hours of France's announcement to denounce Google's invasiveness over the past several years, threatening fines of up to 450,000 Euros if they failed to change their privacy policy to the satisfaction of regulators.

Other governments across Europe have jumped on the bandwagon, sparking what is beginning to look like a united front by the core members of the European Union to reject the kind of spying under which American citizens are more heavily subjugated. Action is now being considered and filed by governments including Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and the United Kingdom.

The UK government, which nevertheless has strong connections to the PRISM program and has strong data-sharing agreements with its special relationship partner, appears to be responding to pressure from civil liberties campaigners. However, members of Parliament in Westminster are also currently on the offensive against Google on account of its highly complicated system of exploiting loopholes in the tax system that its lobbying friends in big accounting firms have written on their behalf.

Margaret Hodge, a veteran MP from the Labour Party who sits as chair of the influential Public Accounts Committee, a parliamentary committee that has the power to summon business leaders and owners to parliament to question. She has recently led the charge against massive tax evasion programs from multinationals like Starbucks, Amazon, Goldman Sachs and Google, telling lobbyists from the latter that their tax operation was “evil.”

Hodge's previous role as a junior minister under Tony Blair is remembered for her comments about Blair's “moral imperialism” and her long-held skepticism of his approach to foreign policy. She is once again held in reasonably high regard by a public and press that is vigorously supporting her, and now it appears that David Cameron's government is listening. Cameron and his Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, known for their market liberalism, have started to give ground over public pressure on tax evasion, to the extent that in the recent G8 summit they each called for greater international cooperation on making tax-cheats like Google pay their dues to the societies from which they profit.

Google's CEO Eric Schmidt has angered many in the UK by striking a defiant pose against public anger that the company paid no corporation tax on profits of almost $2.5 billion, stating “it's called capitalism.” This stance appears to match Apple CEO Tim Cook's recent posturing in front of the Senate where he argued that Apple would pay more tax if it was charged less.

Google holds an estimated 90% of the market share of internet searches in Britain. Their global tax evasion schemes, managed by hordes of accountants against which small firms cannot afford to compete, helped the corporation to avoid paying an estimated $2bn worldwide last year, as estimated by British campaigners Tax Justice Network and their American counterparts Citizens for Tax Justice.

Despite David Cameron's insistence that the G8 cracks down on tax avoidance, however, there is suspicion among critics that he is merely making a show of wanting change in order to control the public mood. It has been estimated by the Tax Justice Network that if the companies exploiting loopholes in the British system paid the amounts of tax that they rightfully owed, the structural deficit in Britain's finances (persisting at around $130 billion) would be completely closed. Since the deficit is the ostensible reason for Cameron and Osborne's punishing austerity program, which is systematically dismantling Britain's 60-year-old welfare state, there have been further calls for an end to austerity if tax evasion is hit properly. The government has thus far made no statement agreeing to this.

Europe's struggles with tax evasion and privacy violations continue.