Google Drive

Data privacy should be paramount in the minds of today’s consumer. According to the Cloud Industry Forum (CIF) 55 per cent of businesses cite privacy as a major concern when it comes to Cloud deployments. One would therefore think that this would be uppermost in the minds of solution providers.

But according to Simon Bain, CTO of Simplexo, Google like most of its competitors within the ‘cloud storage’ market, seems to believe that it has a right to, at the very least, use its customers’ files for its own benefit.

“Google has followed its competitors in using a clause which shows total disregard for its customers. It is about time that service companies such as Google and Dropbox started to respect their users and not treat them with such a cavalier attitude,” he stated.

Google terms state: “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 that we make so that your content works better with our Services), communicate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute such content.”

Simon continued: “These words are not very different to those of Dropbox, Box.Net, Microsoft and Apple. So why do we use these services?”

“Well as an individual there is not too much to worry about. In most cases there is no problem with one of these companies creating a derivative work from your own. However, as corporate life becomes much more complicated and people access and share documents in a more distributed and mobile manner, this is simply not an option.”

“If you pass files across to a service which has terms similar to this from Google then you may well be breaking national or state laws covering data privacy and data protection. At the very least you are opening up your company to information theft and copying of corporate data. Worst still you are potentially passing your customers’ data and information across to an insecure third party.”

“Cloud storage services have a real part to play in today’s working environment. However users need to be aware of all of the terms and conditions and also the security aspect of where they are housing their files. This clause is used, not because Google or Dropbox want to copy the files – although they can – but because they cannot be sued if they have a data breach and your files are stolen,” he added.

“And let’s not forget that Dropbox changed its terms of use soon after a major security breach late in 2011 so perhaps other suppliers should follow that route!” he concluded.

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