The popular file sharing and synching service known as Dropbox has been receiving some heat lately for changes the company made to its Terms of Service (TOS). For many, the point of concern was a section about compliance with law enforcement, in which Dropbox outlined situations where it would feel compelled to fork over personal data about its users. This sparked a bit of outrage among fans of the service, so Dropbox decided to set the record straight in a lengthy blog post explaining the changes.
"When looking at our Terms of Service, it’s useful to also look at the Terms of Service from companies such as Google, Apple, Skype, and Twitter. We think what you’ll find is that they’re very similar, and that most Internet companies have the same legal obligations," Dropbox explains. "So, if these things are so standard, why did we make changes to ours? It was to be more user friendly and transparent about our policies.You’ll notice that the new Terms of Service (TOS) better outlines the specific situations under which we would disclose user data.
"We felt our old TOS language was too broad, and gave Dropbox rights that we didn’t even want. We wish we had explained this when we made the change, but unfortunately we didn’t and we’re sorry if these changes have raised concerns about our commitment to keeping your stuff private."
Dropbox went on to explain that it doesn't get very many government data requests, averaging about one a month over the past year for its more than 25 million users. That works out to less than one in a million accounts. But when Dropbox does receive a request, it "must follow U.S. law," just like other services do.
"When we get a government request, we don't just hand over your information or files," Dropbox says. "Our legal team vets all of these requests before we take any action. The small number of requests we have received have all been targeted to specific individuals under criminal investigation. If we were to receive a government request that was too broad or didn't comply with the law, we would stand up for our users and fight for their privacy rights."
Dropbox had a whole lot more to say on the topic, which you can read here.