Is Dropbox viewing your files?

When a company achieves the status of a giant it is easy to assume that they have sold the corporate soul to the devil to get there and has undertaken underhand tactics that somehow bleed the users dry.

Apple, Microsoft, Google etc have all been tarred with this brush, but what happens when it is revealed that a small company you have assumed is one of the good guys and is small enough to care and not trample of the sensibilities of its clientele?

Over recent months file sharing company Dropbox has come in for some fairly sharp criticism over the allegation that it can view files uploaded by its users, a claim that it has vehemently denied.

The story was originally broken by Christopher Soghoian – the same chap that was asked to write smear articles on Google on behalf of Facebook – and he has gone further with his investigations, deep enough to have filed a 16-page complaint with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, which asks the FTC to have Dropbox admit that it can get at Dropbox data, making your data vulnerable to an attack on Dropbox’s servers; require Dropbox to email its 25 million customers to warn them of the potential problem and suggest that customers encrypt their data independently; force Dropbox to refund money to people who paid for “Pro” service, if they felt they were deceived; and enjoin Dropbox from making future deceptive statements.

So, has Dropbox become Dropabollocks and will you consider closing down your account and removing your data from the company’s servers?

Read the full Info”World background article here.

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Kevin Tea is a journalist and marketing communications professional who has worked for some of the leading blue chip companies in the UK and Europe. In the 1990s he became interested in how emerging Internet-based technologies could change the way that people worked and became an administrator on the Telework Europa Forum on CompuServe. With other colleagues he took part in a four year European Commission sponsored project to look at the way that the Internet could benefit remote communities. His blog is a resource for SMEs who want to use cloud computing and Web 2.0 technologies.