Google Fixes ‘Creepy’ Docs Problem But Spying Fears Persist
Google Fixes ‘Creepy' Docs Problem But Spying Fears Persist
A glitch in the popular Google Docs service resulted in users getting locked out of their documents, according to a message, they had violated the company’s terms of service. The issue has now been fixed, but the incident is raising some uncomfortable questions for Google.
The incidents amounted created inconvenience as many users rely on the cloud-based Google Docs to access information about both their personal and professional lives. In response, a Google employee explained in an online forum that “a code push … incorrectly flagged a small percentage of Google Docs as abusive, which caused those documents to be automatically blocked.”
While the company has since cleared up the problem, the episode has proved unsettling for some Google Docs users, including Bale, who tweeted “this kind of monitoring is kind of creepy.” Others expressed similar sentiments:
The concern is especially relevant for those who use Google’s tools to record sensitive information. Indeed, in a conversation I had last week with journalists at a well-known newspaper, reporters there expressed unease that Google might not just freeze their files, but use its omniscient view to identify their sources.
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