Changes to file sharing in Google Drive could open a whole new censorship channel, essentially establishing that users do not have rights to their own files if Google disapproves of content.
A new Google Drive policy will restrict access to files that allegedly violate Google’s Terms of Service or its “Abuse Program Policies.” The restriction would also prevent users from sharing files. While the owner of the file would still have access, anyone else to whom it was shared would not, even if those individuals have a link prior to the restriction, Tom’s Guide explained. The penalties for so-called content violations would not stop there, however. Google could reportedly decide to start “restricting access to the content, removing the content, and limiting or terminating a user’s access to Google products,” Tom’s Guide said.
Google’s Abuse Program Policies include bans on “hate speech” and “misleading content.” The “misleading content” category includes alleged “conspiracy theories,” “harmful health practices” and “Misleading content related to civic and democratic processes.”
Google has not been forthcoming about the details of how it will detect and curb such objectionable or illegal content, according to Tom’s Guide. The “exceptions based on artistic, educational, documentary or scientific considerations” are also vague. While users will be notified by email and thus be able to appeal penalties in case there is a mistake, and the policy change is allegedly to keep users “safe,” the ambiguities are concerning for free speech advocates.
If Google can remove content or terminate “a user’s access to Google products,” based on rules such as “misleading content” bans, this policy would seem to be set up to allow even more biased censorship.
Google has shown a leftist censorship bent. Google received a “F” for Free Speech and Online Freedom on the most recent MRC Free Speech America Big Tech report card. Google also received a F for Free Speech in the first and second quarter report cards this year.
Conservatives are under attack. Contact Google at (650) 253-000 and demand it provide transparency and an equal footing for conservatives. If you have been censored, contact us at the Media Research Center contact form, and help us hold Big Tech accountable.