Dropbox 'deceived' users over security: Files are open to government searches

Summary:Dropbox 'deceived' users about the security and encryption of its cloud storage services, according to a complaint made to the FTC.

Post updated: 16:55 PST.

Dropbox, one of the favourite cloud synchronisation services available for free, 'deceived' its users about the security and encryption of its cloud storage services.

A complaint made to the Federal Trade Commission suggests Dropbox employed "deceptive trade practices" by putting it "at a competitive advantage", with users being told that that Dropbox employees could not access your files or data when they could. It also meant that as files were able to be decrypted by employees.

David Gewirtz's assertions were correct. You shouldn't use Dropbox if you have something to hide.

Data held in Dropbox was and still us vulnerable to inspection by U.S. authorities.

The full complaint can be found here.

Only last month, PhD student Christopher Soghoian at Indiana University, blew the whistle on the popular cloud storage service, which now serves as evidence in the complaint submitted to the FTC.

Though Dropbox has now revised statements on its website relating to file security and how employees have access to the encryption keys to unlock your files, the damage is still done.

The service is popular amongst students who use it not only to hold their university work but music files also, with 2GB of free storage available in an instant.

A company spokesperson told me:

"We believe this complaint is without merit, and raises old issues that were addressed in our blog post on April 21, 2011. Millions of people depend on our service every day and we work hard to keep their data safe, secure, and private."

This post reflecting the change in terms and conditions were added after the allegations were made by Soghoian.

Dropbox may have a lot of work on its hands to restore faith in its service. It has been a rough week for major companies dealing with public relations spats, especially after the alleged Facebook smear campaign against Google.

Topics: Storage, Hardware, Security

About

Zack Whittaker writes for ZDNet, CNET, and CBS News. He is based in New York City.

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