Google experimenting with server-side encryption for Drive

July 17, 2013
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Don't trust the government? Google might have a solution for you. The search giant is reportedly experimenting with server-side file encryption for Drive.

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Google may add options to encrypt files uploaded to Google Drive in the future. That’s according to an article by a CNET reporter, whose sources confirmed the search giant was experimenting with data protection mechanisms designed for cloud storage.

Most major companies that offer online storage rely on encrypted connections to transfer files. However, few, including Google, store uploaded files securely. The reasons are largely technical: encrypting and indexing files server-side requires additional computing power and new indexing solutions. That’s not to say it’s impossible; despite the difficulties involved a number of digital lockers offering encryption have popped up in recent years, as law enforcement actions against file sharing services have popularized the idea of such services.

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Google’s encryption may, depending on the way it’s implemented, placate consumers frustrated with the company’s apparent participation in a government data-sharing operation known as PRISM. (Google denies it provides direct file access to the government.) Presumably, if Google were to locally and securely store the keys necessary to decrypt users files, third parties would have a much tougher time accessing data. Encryption is a tricky business, though, and even the encryption mechanisms provided by services that purport to have rock-solid security contain more flaws than they’d like to admit.

Would you feel safer if Google began offering encryption on drive? Let us know in the comments.

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