Google Drive Stirs Concern About Data Privacy
Maybe you’re comfortable with Google scanning the contents of your Gmail in order to serve you targeted ads. It’s a trade-off many people, and some companies, are willing to make for Google’s popular, free email service.
But not long after Google this week announced availability of its long-rumored cloud storage service Google Drive, some were alarmed.
Specifically, the following verbiage from Google’s terms of service raised eyebrows anew, since the terms apply to all Google products including Google Drive:
“When you upload or otherwise submit content to our Services, you give Google (and those we work with) a worldwide license to use, host, store, reproduce, modify, create derivative works (such as those resulting from translations, adaptations or other changes we make so that your content works better with our Services), communicate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute such content."
In a Tuesday blog post, The Verge published the above excerpt as well as excerpts from the terms of service agreements offered by Google Drive competitors Dropbox and Microsoft SkyDrive.
Many companies advise their employees not to use either Google Drive or Gmail for company purposes “until Google clarified how its policies might affect corporate information,” according to The New York Times.
Not everyone is up in arms, however. “Every time a company updates their terms of service–or posts a new one–users end up being shocked by the language that describes a company’s right to use your information,” said Jules Polonetsky, director at the Future of Privacy Forum, in the Times article. “But it does not appear that Google claims ownership of your data. This is just the annual fire alarm when users actually look at the legalese needed to describe a company’s right to host your data for you.”
Google Drive, like Dropbox, SugarSync, SkyDrive, Apple’s iCloud and other cloud storage/file sync services, are particularly attractive to the mobile workforce. These services allow you to sync files across multiple computers and devices so that they’re available on the go.
For more about SkyDrive, read “Microsoft Adds Paid SkyDrive Plans and New Desktop Apps.”