Google is allegedly starting to encrypt some user files in Google Drive. Currently, Drive only supports encrypting traffic to its servers but doesn’t encrypt files on its servers. This leaves user files and data vulnerable to snooping, even from the government using PRISM. This is good news for anyone concerned about their privacy.
The reason why Drive, or other cloud storage service, doesn’t support server-side encryption is because it’s much more difficult to index and search for encrypted files. This will require a lot of extra hardware processing power to be able to make encrypted files usable.
This move is undoubtedly in reaction to the US government’s PRISM spying software. Companies like Yahoo! and Apple are doing their best to prove that they didn’t hand over more information than necessary to the government.
Microsoft, on the other hand, was recently found aiding the NSA by building backdoors into its products like Outlook.com and SkyDrive. Microsoft has denied these claims. “When we are legally obligated to comply with demands, we pull the specified content from our servers where it sits in an unencrypted state, and then we provide it to the government agency,” said Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith.
If Google does in fact start encrypting user files on Drive, it could make customers less weary about putting sensitive data online. It also shows that Google, as a company, is treating user privacy as a top commitment.
Google has declined to comment about file encryption in Google Drive.