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article imageDropbox, file sharing service, accused of lying to users

By Stephanie Medeiros     May 25, 2011 in Internet
A Ph.D. student has filed a complaint against the file sharing service Dropbox, alleging that they lied to their customers and put their information at risk.
Reported by Wired, the popular file sharing start-up known as Dropbox has been accused of lying to its users.
Christopher Soghoian, a Ph.D. student at the University of Indiana, is alleging that the files were not encrypted and could be easily viewed by Dropbox and used against its users without authorization of the people who originally sent them.
Roughly 25 million people use the service, which offers both a free and paid service that allow people to share any type of file between two devices through cloud-based storage. The founders created Dropbox as an alternative means to emailing, since sending larger files can prove to be frustrating with most email clients.
The concern came from the fact that Dropbox could easily give up users' sharing data and files to the police or government, so that they could be used against the user. Also, the breach of privacy from other services such as Facebook and Google have prompted people to be more careful with their information.
Last Tuesday, Dropbox replied to the accusation, reports PC World, to make it clearer for users to understand. Dropbox went on to explain that they only receive "one police request" per month, out of its millions of users who regularly share files. They also defended this by saying this is not any different to the several other sharing services out there, such as Google or Twitter. Dropbox emphasizes that they do care about user privacy and the protection of their data.
"Millions of people depend on our service every day and we work hard to keep their data safe, secure and private," spokeswomen for Dropbox, Julie Supan, said in a direct response to Soghoian.
Wired highlighted that Dropbox changed the wording of their Terms of Service on April 13. While files are indeed encrypted, they are not encrypted on Dropbox's servers.
Because of these alleged misrepresentations, the complaint is filed under Deceptive Trade Practice, which can prompt a review by the FTC. The filed complaint can be viewed here on Scribd.
More about Dropbox, File sharing, Cybersecurity, Cloud computing