I wrote about DropBox security before, and advised on how it could be secure enough. The latest change to their terms is quite scary, and you might want to consider dropping this box totally.
Where are you going DropBox?
Here it goes (and I'm not the first to quote this):
"..We sometimes need your permission to do what you ask us to do with your stuff (for example, hosting, making public, or sharing your files). By submitting your stuff to the Services, you grant us (and those we work with to provide the Services) worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free, sublicenseable rights to use, copy, distribute, prepare derivative works (such as translations or format conversions) of, perform, or publicly display that stuff to the extent reasonably necessary for the Service."
So what do they really say? Lets debug this quite odd text..
- We sometimes need = The company behind DropBox may suddenly feel an urge to do what they say that they can do, at their convenience.
- what you ask us to do with your stuff = Connected to the above statement, they sometimes need your permission to provide their service. Huh?
- you grant us (and those we work with to provide the Services) = Yes, you gave them permission. And the utility company providing electricity. And someones uncle. And a webserver guy in India. And..
(by now you probably wonder how many lawyers work at DropBox. Something close to zero is my guess)
- worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free, sublicenseable rights to use, copy, distribute, prepare derivative works = Yes! We won the lottery! Now we own it all!! DropBox may now simply copy anything you have synced, build apps, photo gallerys, whatever. I bet the next step is to file a lawsuit against their users for stealing what they rightfully stole..before.
(Ok lets clean my synced folders. Done. Three files left there..a cookie receipt and two blurry pictures of a road sign. I'm safe.)
- publicly display that stuff to the extent reasonably necessary for the Service = Now with the overall (somewhat blurry) impression of DropBox I'm not surprised if they feel it necessary to publicly display pictures of your kids (thats "stuff" right?) somewhere on the Internet.
So whats your choice?
Imagine a person coming up to you and talking like whats mentioned in the DropBox terms. Some normal reactions would be:
"- Dont you ever play with that kid again! He's wierd. You hear me!?"
"- I'm sorry to say it. There was nothing we could do."
"- I give you two hours to pick up your stuff. If your not gone by lunch, I will call security!"
"- This was a stressful and threatening situation. I believe the shot was absolutely called for."
My choice and thoughts
At the moment, I dont have any sensitive or valuable "stuff" in my DropBox folders. But do not forget to completely delete files, as DropBox have the ability to restore "stuff" whenever they "sometimes need" it. Log on to your account. The pictures below will give you a hint.
I believe DropBox will be gone from the face of the Internet by 2013, unless something radically happens with their service. Now, I'm off to check out Ubuntu One as an alternative. This is for Ubuntu Linux, but I'm sure there are some other good alternatives out there if you run some other operating system…
Be careful out there!