an arbitrary process that goes beyond blocking illegal files

Google renewed the Google Drive usage policy in mid-December. Among the changes is the notice that it will delete our own files if it detects that content violates its policies. In other words, Google will scan our hosted content and remove it if it detects something “inappropriate” or “reprehensible”. And what files can have this consideration? It turns out that Google considers.

Until now, Google had an obligation to remove clearly illegal content and those that a judge would have ruled, but now They have taken an extra step in this content moderation and not only illegal content will be removed.

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More responsibility (and power) for companies

As our colleagues from Genbeta explain, Google was going to wait two weeks after the announcement to start scanning our content. After this time, according to the new Google Drive use policy, the content that we have hosted in Google’s cloud hosting system is beginning to be moderated.

“We may review the content to determine if it is illegal or violates our Program Policies, and we may remove it or refuse to publish it if we have sufficient reason to believe that it violates our policies or the law.”

This decision to remove content follows the line of what has been seen to date in the DSA (Digital Services Act) regulation that is being processed in the European Parliament. The position of the European Commission goes through place the responsibility of controlling the content published on them in the hands of large technology platforms. This implies more power for these companies and even the ability to censor what is published, but they are also required to take responsibility for maintaining a “healthy” digital environment.

Precisely the line between the illegal and the inappropriate is where the difficulty of applying this system lies, where it will also be the algorithms who predictably (due to the enormous number of files to review) will point out which files will be deleted. The deletion of files by Google Drive is also in line with what is seen by the ‘Iceta Law’, which leaves it in the hands of the algorithms the responsibility for what can and cannot be hosted. Apparently, from Google they point out that there will be a human final supervision.

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As described by Google, the process will first be done with automated systems and if these files are suspected of violating Google’s policy, then a group of experts will review and decide on the measures to be applied, which may go from the restriction of access to third parties, the direct deletion of the files and even a ban on the user of all Google services.

Some of the examples of files that will be deleted range from sexually explicit documents to “content that endangers children”, going through hosting malware or hate speech documents. However, in many cases there are documents that border on these issues and it is not clear if they pose a danger or not. Instead of being a judge who makes the decision, it will be Google itself who navigates these chiaroscuro of information.

If you do not agree with a decision, Google will allow requesting a review of these kinds of decisions, although without specifying what deadlines there are to carry it out. A measure that also contemplates European regulations and can serve as a counterweight to the, on the other hand, opaque process of controlling our files.

Edited image | Bernard hermant
In Engadget | The 21 best applications or add-ons for Google Drive

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