Many people worried that Google was scanning users’ documents in real time to determine if they’re being mean or somehow bad. You actually agree to such oversight in Google G Suite’s terms of service.

Those terms include include personal conduct stipulations and copyright protection, as well as adhering to “program policies.” Who knows what made the program that checks for abuse and other violations of the G Suite terms of service to go awry. But something did.

And it’s not just Google that has such terms. Chances are you or your employees have signed similar terms in the many agreements that people accept without reading.

The big concern from enterprises this week was not being locked out of Google Docs for a time but the fact that Google was scanning documents and other files. Even though this is spelled out in the terms of service, it’s uncomfortably Big Brother-ish, and raises anew questions about how confidential and secure corporate information really is in the cloud.  

This is part of a workshop I have given several times: many companies do this happily. Oddly enough you won’t find their invasions in the privacy policy, but in their terms of service is where you find the interesting maneuvering. It’s actually worse than above: you generally give away copyright to all your documents as well 🙂