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Roger Clarke's 'Second-Party Exposure - Dropbox

Internet Users' Second-Party Exposure
Detailed Analysis - 1: Dropbox

Version of 24 December 2010

Roger Clarke **

© Xamax Consultancy Pty Ltd, 2010

Available under an AEShareNet Free
for Education licence or a Creative Commons 'Some
Rights Reserved' licence.

This document is at http://www.rogerclarke.com/EC/IU-SPE-A1-Dropbox.html


Detailed Analysis

A Term purports to give Dropbox the rights to:

It is unclear what the scope of the expression 'access' means. For example, it would appear to have different meanings when relating to a computer, a file, and the information in a file.

Nothing was apparent in the Terms that would provide Dropbox with any rights in relation to information lodged with it for transmission or web-hosting, other than to 'access' it.

The Terms contain no provision for changes, whether by negotiation or unilaterally.

Users are at risk of Dropbox taking advantage of users' content under the following circumstances:


Extracts from the Terms of Service

Terms at https://www.dropbox.com/terms

Mirrored at http://www.rogerclarke.com/EC/IU-SPE-T-Dropbox.html

9 December 2010, mirror downloaded 14 January 2011

The version of Terms is undated and has no version no.

BY UTILIZING THE SITE, CONTENT, FILES AND/OR SERVICES, YOU CONSENT TO ALLOW DROPBOX TO ACCESS YOUR COMPUTER TO ACCESS ANY FILES THAT ARE PLACED IN THE 'MY DROPBOX,' 'DROPBOX' FOLDERS, AND/OR ANY OTHER FOLDER WHICH YOU CHOOSE TO LINK TO DROPBOX.

Files ... means the information contained in the files

All feedback, comments, and suggestions for improvements (the "Feedback") that you provide to Dropbox, in any form, and any contributions you make to the Site by posting content and communicating with other Dropbox users via posts to forums on the site ("User Posts") will be the sole and exclusive property of Dropbox. You hereby irrevocably transfer and assign to Dropbox and agree to irrevocably assign and transfer to Dropbox all of your right, title, and interest in and to all of your Feedback and User Posts, including all worldwide patent rights (including patent applications and disclosures), copyright rights, trade secret rights, and other intellectual property rights (collectively, the "Intellectual Property Rights") therein. At Dropbox's request and expense, you will execute documents and take such further acts as Dropbox may reasonably request to assist Dropbox in acquiring, perfecting and maintaining its Intellectual Property Rights and other legal protections for your Feedback and User Posts.

There appears to be no Term enabling a change of Terms.


Author Affiliations

Roger Clarke is Principal of Xamax Consultancy Pty Ltd, Canberra. He is also a Visiting Professor in the Cyberspace Law & Policy Centre at the University of N.S.W., and a Visiting Professor in the Department of Computer Science at the Australian National University.



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The content and infrastructure for these community service pages are provided by Roger Clarke through his consultancy company, Xamax.

From the site's beginnings in August 1994 until February 2009, the infrastructure was provided by the Australian National University. During that time, the site accumulated close to 30 million hits. It passed 50 million in early 2015.

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Created: 9 December 2010 - Last Amended: 24 December 2010 by Roger Clarke - Site Last Verified: 15 February 2009
This document is at www.rogerclarke.com/EC/IU-SPE-A1-Dropbox.html
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