Google Drive's overly generic Terms of Service leave much to be desired on privacy, lawyers say

Google Drive's overly generic Terms of Service leave much to be desired on privacy, lawyers say
Perhaps when we did our comparison among the current popular cloud services we should have included a section that compares their Terms of Service, especially regarding the privacy of users' own files stored there.

Google has kept its vague and generic ToS language for Google Drive, over which it is receiving a lot of flack lately, after it started consolidating user data from its vast span of services on March 1.

When you dig into those Terms of Service, at first read it seems that the kids at Mountain View can do anything they want with the data you upload, that's the way the license grant in a section of the privacy agreement is phrased:

Google was quick to dismiss these worries, brought on by a legal expert, who reviewed its service policies: 

That reaffirms the first paragraph of the license grant we cite above, but doesn't really do much about the second part. The legal experts who looked at it said that it is way too vague and generic, leaving Google too much leeway with user's files, be it only to explain the conditions upon which the company licenses its services to users, so it can operate and improve them.

The best way to alleviate any concerns would be for Google to state clearly that privacy trumps licensing, data-mining and law enforcement compliance. Like what Dropbox did after it suffered a backlash against similar ToS it had before - the service now states:

Thus you can be fairly certain that while your account might not be protected from peeping eyes if you conduct crimes against humanity, you are likely not going to be caught in the crossfires of something like the Megaupload scandal, or random government or even private entities willing to access your files with less than sound reasons, like data-mining and marketing, for example

via CNET

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15 Comments

1. darktranquillity

Posts: 285; Member since: Feb 28, 2012

So by jus uploading a personnel pic of mine to google drive, i give them the right to publicly display and distribute it!!!!. Am i in cucumber town?

11. Scott_H

Posts: 167; Member since: Oct 28, 2011

No, you don't. You are covered by Google's official privacy policy, which does not allow them to publicly show anything of yours without your permission. The above permissions are just so they can shuffle the data around in their various data centers as they upgrade them, make them available to you in different countries, share them with people you choose to share with, etc.

15. ZEUS.the.thunder.god unregistered

+1 for you for clarifying it but i think the title of the article is completely MISLEADING. Micheal H. wrote a very good article on google`s unified privacy policy to eliminate any such concerns. even if we go by your wording in above reply to the post, the whole article doeant make any sense. so it would be great if you guys dont write articles in a manner which can be mis-understood or misleading titles like this.

2. eaxvac

Posts: 328; Member since: Jan 15, 2012

See? Don't trust the Googlightnig guy.

3. groupsacc

Posts: 232; Member since: Feb 28, 2012

Don't be evil.

4. medicci37

Posts: 1361; Member since: Nov 19, 2011

Well then i guess its Dropbox for me.

5. joeymk

Posts: 101; Member since: Jan 26, 2012

I knew something was s**tty here. Sticking with SkyDrive. GoogleDrive bye bye

6. PhoneArenaUser

Posts: 5498; Member since: Aug 05, 2011

As I already have said, never trust "Clouds".

7. remyrz

Posts: 205; Member since: Oct 28, 2010

so what about alll my photos of ''instant upload'' on G+.. is the same sh*t?!?! OMG!! stupid comertial of the father losing his baby's photos! >:O

10. shadowcell

Posts: 300; Member since: Mar 28, 2012

You can turn off instant upload if you feel uncomfortable about it. Also, turning off location services doesn't geo-tag your pics to avoid privacy issues.

9. shadowcell

Posts: 300; Member since: Mar 28, 2012

Nothing knew to the playing field. This is pretty much the same ToS towards gmail and other Google products & services. Dropbox does things differently but to some point or extent these cloud services do monitor and/or take a piece of anonymous information. They are all DMCA compliant also so if you got something to hide, don't upload.

12. Scott_H

Posts: 167; Member since: Oct 28, 2011

Actually, Dropbox and Skydrive have almost identical ToSs, and theirs are a bit more vague. Read them all before you worry about this one IMO.

13. shadowcell

Posts: 300; Member since: Mar 28, 2012

You got it boss. Since Microsoft never developed an app for Android OS I never seem to bother with Skydrive. Side note: A friend of mine has access to Google Drive via Mac but as a PC user it says "my Google Drive isn't ready yet". He's an iOS app developer so could it be he's gotten early access?

14. Holmes108

Posts: 1; Member since: Apr 26, 2012

The article title is silly. "Google Drive's overly generic Terms of Service....." The Terms of Service all of these news sites are quoting aren't from Google Drive specifically... it's Google's general terms of service. The reason they are vague is because they are referring to all of it's services. The lines of text in question refer to content you "submit" to their services. IE posting a picture publicly on Google+, or submitting your business listing for Google Maps. It has nothing to do with private files you're storing on your drive. They aren't going to steal the top secret plans for your next great invention (unless you intentionally submit them to one of their public services). Look at Facebook, or any other service that allows you to submit content to a public area, and they will have nearly identical ToS. But most sites are omitting all of this info, because they need to fabricate drama.

16. ZEUS.the.thunder.god unregistered

well said. its actually a pointless and misleading article as i said in my post above.

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