Google Inc. recently launched the Google Drive, a cloud based file sharing tool positioned to compete with Dropbox. But its badly written terms of service raise concerns about the privacy and ownership of files uploaded to the service.
The terms currently on Google’s Policies and Principles page, which apply to Google Drive as well as Google’s other tools such as Gmail, are vague. The policy reads as follows:
“Some of our Services allow you to submit content. 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 we make so that your content works better with our Services), communicate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute such content.”
The wording seems to say two things at once. The company simultaneously asserts that user retains intellectual property rights and that Google holds broad rights to use and distribute any content submitted to its services.
Critics are concerned that Google’s terms do not offer users adequate legal protection in the event their privacy is violated.
Wall Street Journal:
Google’s Policies and Principles
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