Dropbox grants researchers access to project folder data without asking consent

In July 2018, a group of researchers at Northwestern University published the results of two years of studying the collaboration behaviour of tens of thousands of scientists. A controversy rapidly sprang up about the method they used: they had been given access to project folder-related data by the cloud storage company Dropbox. The data was aggregated and anonymised before being handed to researchers. However, customers' consent was not asked; instead, Dropbox relied on their acceptance of its privacy policy and terms of service. It remains unclear who has access to the data, for how long, what kinds of Dropbox accounts are affected, and whether the research will be submitted for peer review.


Writer: Emily Dreyfuss

Publication: Wired