Google Says Sorry Over Google Docs ‘terms Of Service’ Bug - CATEGORY Prime News: TITLE

GOOGLE has apologised after hundreds were blocked from their files saved on Google Docs for allegedly violating their terms and conditions.

It froze hundreds of files after a piece of scanning software flagged them as potentially sharing malware, or "abusive" content.

 Many workers use Google docs as a replacement for Microsoft Word>PA:Press Association>
Many workers use Google docs as a replacement for Microsoft Word

Scores of people - including a number of journalists and news organisations - were shocked to find they couldn't edit their files on Tuesday afternoon.

Anyone with permission to access the files through the sharing function had been automatically kicked out of the offending files.

Docs users were met with a message that read: "This item has been flagged as inappropriate and can no longer be shared."

Google later apologised, saying a fix was in place and that they will put a process in place to stop it happening again.

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A spokesperson said: "This morning, we made a code push that incorrectly flagged a small percentage of Google Docs as abusive, which caused those documents to be automatically blocked.

"A fix is in place and all users should have full access to their docs.

"Protecting users from viruses, malware and other abusive content is central to our user safety.

"We apologise for the disruption and will put processes in place to prevent this from happening again."

 Google Apps are one of the most popular tools used by consumers and businesses>Getty Images>
Google Apps are one of the most popular tools used by consumers and businesses

This "code push" came within hours of the Times reporting that the publishing giant was "failing to police its Google Drive file-storage and sharing service, which has become a key repository for terrorist propaganda, including calls for attacks in the West".

Google told the Sun Online that the auto scan of its users' files to see whether they were creating "abusive" material had nothing to do with the Times report.

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The fiasco raised concerns over privacy, after the ease in which Google could simultaneously scan documents for keywords became apparent.

Despite the fact that many use Google's services, it's likely that several will be unaware that they have handed the publishing giant total access to auto-scan personal conversations within emails or intellectual property within Docs.

Google was critiqued earlier this year after it emerged it had effectively turned millions of its users' smartphones into listening devices that can capture intimate conversations - even when they weren't in the room.

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