Privacy advocates warn about Google Drive’s privacy policies

This week several Privacy advocates have voiced strong concerns over how user’s data is stored on Google Drive may be used during and after customers are actively engaged in using the cloud service.

While all on-line services and Cloud-based offerings stating their policy on how user data is stored and used, Google’s terms of service seem to go further than others.

The part of the Google terms of use that is causing the uproar is:Computer security and the cloud

You retain ownership of any intellectual property rights that you hold in that content. In short, what belongs to you stays yours. 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.”

Many are saying that this is giving Google an implied ownership right to data that is stored on the Google Drive service.

Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) stated “The terms of service are bad, but even worse is that Google has made clear it will change its terms of service whenever it wishes.”

A Google spokesman released a statement saying:

You own your files and control their sharing, plain and simple. Our Terms of Service enable us to give you the services you want—so if you decide to share a document with someone, or open it on a different device, you can,” he said. “Many who have covered this simply ignored that paragraph and quoted only the one immediately following it, which grants us the license required by copyright law to display or transmit content on a user’s behalf. Other companies use very similar language.”

Google’s terms also state that when a user discontinues use of its service, it continues to retain the right to use customer information.

We at Advanced Network Consulting believe that the truth lies somewhere in the middle. The terms of services released by Google are expressed in poor word choices. All on-line services need to be able to host and manipulate the data that users upload to their service, and at the same time the users need to understand that they are giving up a great deal of control over the data that they upload.

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