Google Docs Shares Documents Without Permisson

Martin Brinkmann
Mar 7, 2009
Updated • Jun 2, 2014

Cloud computing is a buzz word. It has been made popular with services like Google Docs which allow users to store their documents on a server on the Internet. While it surely is comfortable to have the documents stored on servers with the ability to work with them and share them with trusted individuals, words of concern has been raised lately.

Most of the concern is security and privacy related. Users are basically handing over their documents to a third party. They gain accessibility but lose control over their documents. While it is a good idea to keep a local copy of each document and file, it is likely that this is not a top priority for at least some users.

A letter that has been send out by the Google Docs team seems to have made the worst case scenario true for some users of the online service. According to Techcrunch who received a copy of a letter that has been send out the following happened: The Google Docs team identified a bug in their online service that may have caused the sharing of documents without the knowledge or permission of the user.

"This inadvertent sharing was limited to people with whom you, or a collaborator with sharing rights, had previously shared a document. The issue only occurred if you, or a collaborator with sharing rights, selected multiple documents and presentations from the documents list and changed the sharing permissions. This issue affected documents and presentations, but not spreadsheets."

While it is unclear as to how many users have actually been affected by the bug it does outline the problems of storing documents, files and information on the Internet. There is always a chance that the documents will fall into hands that they are not intended for.


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  1. Dante said on March 7, 2009 at 5:28 pm

    I have never understood people’s need to lose control of their private info. From Facebooks to Google docs. It’s like they WANT to create situations where they can whine and whine about how life’s been beating them down. I’m sure a lot of you have run into this kind of imbeciles.

  2. Paul(us) said on March 7, 2009 at 2:16 pm

    Main personal advice is never (ever) trust your private documents to anybody, on the internet. Never ever.

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