Report: Google Locked Users Out of Their Own Data Following ‘Creepy Monitoring’ by Company

Press Association via AP Images
Press Association via AP Images

Google has reportedly been locking users out of their own data after what one affected user described as “creepy monitoring.”

“Imagine you’re working on a Google Doc when, seemingly out of nowhere, your ability to edit the online file gets revoked. What you see instead is an error message indicating that you’ve violated Google’s terms of service,” wrote the Washington Post‘s Brian Fung on Tuesday. “For anyone who stores work in the cloud, suddenly being unable to access your data — especially due to a terms of service violation — may sound scary. And it’s really happening to some people, according to reports on Twitter.”

Google has seemingly been setting up tools to read its users’ private data and documents in an attempt to search for Terms of Service “violations.”

National Geographic Reporter Rachael Bale was one user who reported the problem.

In a series of posts on Twitter, Bale called the revocation of access to her own content “creepy,” before sharing a screenshot of the error message she received, claiming her content had been “inappropriate.”

After several hours, Bale eventually announced that her access to the document has been restored.

Jacobin Magazine Founder and Democratic Socialists of America “hype man” Bhaskar Sunkara also reported the problem in a post on Twitter.

According to ZDNet, some users even reported their files being deleted by Google in error.

“This issue should now be resolved and you should be able to access your files,” declared Google following the incident. “For more details, this morning, we made a code push that incorrectly flagged a small percentage of Google Docs as abusive, which caused those documents to be automatically blocked.”

“A fix is in place and all users should have full access to their docs. Protecting users from viruses, malware, and other abusive content is central to user safety,” they continued. “We apologize for the disruption and will put processes in place to prevent this from happening again.”

Charlie Nash is a reporter for Breitbart Tech. You can follow him on Twitter @MrNashington and Gab @Nash, or like his page at Facebook.


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