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Cloud Google Privacy Your Rights Online

Privacy Advocates Slam Google Drive's Privacy Policies 219

Posted by timothy
from the rain-down-upon-thee dept.
DJRumpy writes "Privacy advocates voiced strong concerns this week over how data stored on Google Drive may be used during and after customers are actively engaged in using the cloud service. While the TOS for Dropbox and Microsoft both state they will use your data only as far as is necessary to provide the service you have requested, Google goes a bit farther: 'Google's terms of use say: "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."'
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Privacy Advocates Slam Google Drive's Privacy Policies

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  • Article fail (Score:5, Informative)

    by Troed (102527) on Thursday April 26, 2012 @12:04PM (#39808035) Homepage Journal

    "a close and careful reading reveals that Google's terms are pretty much the same as anyone else's, and slightly better in some cases"

    http://www.theverge.com/2012/4/25/2973849/google-drive-terms-privacy-data-skydrive-dropbox-icloud [theverge.com]

  • by icebike (68054) * on Thursday April 26, 2012 @12:12PM (#39808151)

    Conveniently left out of the summary and TFA is that this only applies to DATA YOU EXPLICITLY MAKE PUBLIC in your Google Drive.
    Which is the same policy as Google Docs had, same as Picasa had, etc.
    If you mark a document public then it can be searched for and found. (But in my tests, its rarely searchable - probably my stuff is too boring even for Google's spiders).

    Foremost in Google's policy it states [google.com]:

    Information we share
    We do not share personal information with companies, organizations and individuals outside of Google unless one of the following circumstances apply:
    With your consent
    We will share personal information with companies, organizations or individuals outside of Google when we have your consent to do so. We require opt-in consent for the sharing of any sensitive personal information.

    So if you mark it private, it means its almost as private as it can be while still being in the cloud. Of course Google has to honor subpoenas, but your next great novel will not appear in someone's search results if mark it private.

    If you want better privacy for your commercial cloud storage your best bet is SpiderOak [spideroak.com] which stores everything encrypted with an encryption key that even SpiderOak doesn't know. They use client-side decryption, and therefore couldn't hand over your stuff even at gunpoint.

  • Indeed. (Score:4, Informative)

    by chrb (1083577) on Thursday April 26, 2012 @12:16PM (#39808225)

    Dropbox:

    We may need your permission to do things you ask us to do with your stuff, for example, hosting your files, or sharing them at your direction. This includes product features visible to you, for example, image thumbnails or document previews. It also includes design choices we make to technically administer our Services, for example, how we redundantly backup data to keep it safe. You give us the permissions we need to do those things solely to provide the Services. This permission also extends to trusted third parties we work with to provide the Services, for example Amazon, which provides our storage space (again, only to provide the Services).

    Skydrive:

    If you share content in public areas of the service or in shared areas available to others you've chosen, then you agree that anyone you've shared content with may use that content. When you give others access to your content on the service, you grant them free, nonexclusive permission to use, reproduce, distribute, display, transmit, and communicate to the public the content solely in connection with the service and other products and services made available by Microsoft. If you don't want others to have those rights, don't use the service to share your content. You understand that Microsoft may need, and you hereby grant Microsoft the right, to use, modify, adapt, reproduce, distribute, and display content posted on the service solely to the extent necessary to provide the service.

    Google Drive

    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. The rights you grant in this license are for the limited purpose of operating, promoting, and improving our Services, and to develop new ones.

    I have bolded the relevant bit that the biased summary failed to include. It is exactly the same as the Microsoft term above.

  • by chrb (1083577) on Thursday April 26, 2012 @12:20PM (#39808285)

    Doesn't explain why they need rights to distribute and create derivative works.

    Content sharing is distribution. Content preview is a derivative work. Skydrive and Dropbox both require exactly the same rights.

  • Re:Indeed. (Score:5, Informative)

    by chrb (1083577) on Thursday April 26, 2012 @12:28PM (#39808391)
    And for completeness, Apple's terms:

    Except for material we may license to you, Apple does not claim ownership of the materials and/or Content you submit or make available on the Service. However, by submitting or posting such Content on areas of the Service that are accessible by the public or other users with whom you consent to share such Content, you grant Apple a worldwide, royalty-free, non-exclusive license to use, distribute, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, publicly perform and publicly display such Content on the Service solely for the purpose for which such Content was submitted or made available, without any compensation or obligation to you.

  • by ScentCone (795499) on Thursday April 26, 2012 @01:04PM (#39808911)

    If Google are actually saying this about your virtual hard drive content, it beggars belief.

    They're not saying that. The summary is being incredibly disingenuous and cherry-picking things to quote, missing important context, on purpose. FUD.

  • The real problem... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Shoten (260439) on Thursday April 26, 2012 @01:07PM (#39808957)

    The real problem is not that we have a fundamental concern about creating derivative works or in distribution, but in the intended purpose of such actions. Legal language is typically devoid of intent, since intent is a difficult thing to quantify effectively. As a result, legal documents focus on actions, regardless of whether they are good or bad. A derivative work could be, as stated above, creating a thumbnail of a picture (harmless and necessary for many functions, including showing you thumbnails in PicasaWeb, for example). It could also be something else, like taking your codebase in Google Code and just freely incorporating it into a product of their own (not harmless, and intellectual property theft). What I see is that as far as I can tell, Google has yet to commit any gross abuse of such things, nor have they seemed inclined to do so.

    Google's next challenge is to find a way to delineate between the types of intent they have and the ones they do not have, in a way which is legally binding and thus will hold credibility with groups like EPIC. I do think EPIC is going a little overboard on their language. For example, Rotenberg says "After the unilateral changes on March 1, I don’t understand why users would trust Google to stand by its terms of service," which seems a bit odd to me. He's using the phrase "unilateral changes" as if there was any other way to change terms of service, or like it is a bad thing. What is he implying...that Google should have crowdsourced the ToS that protects their business, and given up control over what the ToS would end up as? That doesn't seem very realistic, and I'd think someone like Rotenberg would already understand how infeasible that is.

    So one part of this is the fact that Google could abuse their users while remaining within the Terms of Service because legal verbiage is bad at distinguishing good intent from bad, and another part is that EPIC is fearmongering a bit. I don't see the real problem, myself, especially since it's possible for their Privacy Policy (which is also in effect) to constrain the actions in the ToS, reducing the amount they could do that's actually "bad".

  • by cayenne8 (626475) on Thursday April 26, 2012 @01:38PM (#39809467) Homepage Journal

    They don't sell your data to customers, that would be illegal.

    You must be in Europe.....

    In the US, it is perfectly legal to sell all your data to customers, in fact, there are MANY companies that do just thing....Acxiom [acxiom.com] is one such example, they have information on likely 98% of the US, and decades ago, they were just then starting to branch out to other countries, I'm pretty sure they have succeeded by now on that front too.

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