UPDATED 3/17/20: I don’t know what I was thinking, but I watched President Trump’s address to the country on COVID-19 on Friday evening. Aside from the fact that the man is incapable of constructing a coherent and complete sentence, I really hope everyone noticed the way he used the national State of Emergency to suspend a whole lot of laws. Including HIPAA – he gave Google the exclusive rights to your medical records if you use their spiffy “How Do I Tell If I’m Sick?” web service.
Google is Pac-Man, eating the world. Munch, munch.
I invite you to do an exercise. It’s a simple one, only involving clicking on a link and reading the contents. I know that the article isn’t exactly rousing fare. But, I promise you: it’s important. Particularly if you’re an artist of any kind.
I know, privacy policies are boring reading. But if you scroll down, you’ll see a header that should make your blood run cold: Permission To Use Your Content.
Wow. They claim the royalty-free, worldwide right to use whatever content you pass through or store on their systems as if it were theirs. Including the right to publish it, copy it, modify it, and create derivative works from it.
They can legally take your work – the product of your creativity – use it any way they please, and never give you a red cent.
Okay, so maybe it’s not as bad as it sounds. But keep reading the policy, because they tell you what is covered: the contents of e-mails in G-Mail, documents stored on Google Drive, any material you may have posted using Google Sites. Google Docs. Google Sheets. Bloody anything.
What, you may ask, triggers this policy? Why, using any Google service through which your works have passed. Just using their services gives them all of these privileges. Privileges, I might add, that you’re probably scrambling to get someone to pay you for. And they just take it. Legally.
Well, I’m not taking it. I’m closing down the Google services I use. I’m backing up, finding new resources, and evaluating which alternatives give me the security, privacy, and functionality I need.
Using this article, I’m finding new services. In a (near) future article, I’ll let you know about my experiences with them.
In the meantime: stay stafe, stay private.