Google Drive Could Soon Lock Down Your Files

( Google has announced a new policy for its cloud storage service that would allow Google to restrict access to files it has deemed in violation of the company’s policies.

In a recent blog post, Google said it will take steps to identify files hosted on Google Drive that violate its terms of service or abuse program policies. These files will be flagged and automatically restricted, which means the user would be unable to share them with other people.

In explaining the new policy, Google said this is to ensure owners of Google Drive items are “fully informed about the status of their content” and help ensure users are “protected from abusive content.”

The motive behind the change in policy is to shield against those abusing Google Drive. It encompasses cybercriminal activity like malware hosting and phishing, as well as “hate speech,” content that endangers children, and sexually explicit material.

In its policy document, Google said this is an attempt to “curb abuses that threaten our ability to provide these services.”

When a potential policy violation is found, Google will review the content and take necessary action, including restricting access, removing the content completely, and limiting or terminating the user’s access to Google products.

The policy document explains that Google may make exceptions for “artistic, educational, documentary, or scientific considerations.” In other words, Google will give itself editorial control over the process.

Users do have the ability to request a review of Google’s decision if they feel they’ve been unfairly restricted. However, it isn’t clear how the process will be handled by Google or how long such a review would take.

In defending the policy change, Google explained that Google Drive is constantly finding ways to protect users’ security and safety, and the security and safety of “society,” while maintaining its respect for privacy. Google argues that these policy changes are similar to Gmail’s efforts to keep its users safe from phishing and malware attacks.