About those cloud services

Cloud services are useful, but …

Apparently the latest Google Docs update is causing all kinds of problems for writers of “adult” content. Their terms of service ban distribution of explicit material, and apparently they’re interpreting that to include sharing with beta readers and such. Presumably using AI or similar to identify “problem” accounts in bulk.

Obviously if they can identify adult material in bulk, they can do the same for instance with material that might be politically sensitive in various countries.

Probably other services have similar terms.

So this is a good opportunity for a reminder to have at least one backup under your exclusive control. And also a reminder that L&L has no access to your content, and therefore no ability to restore a backup for you, but also no ability to remove it.


Recommend you “pin” this at top (if possible) for a while. It adds to the list of why relying on backup to sync/cloud services is not a good idea, IMHO. I know people do it. Sigh.


Supposedly, this is so they can use the texts to train an LLM at some point in the future. Otherwise, why would they care if people exchange smut over non-public docs? So maybe read the next TOS change announcement carefully.


Besides AI training, there are lots of reasons why Google might care. Google Docs could potentially become a side channel for commercial pornographers. And some kinds of smut are in fact illegal, both in the US and in other countries. (Child exploitation material, for instance.)

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There is no doubt that artificial intelligences are going to be used to carry out massive espionage of the population and impose a “single morality” according to political interests. This message is important, above all, for those writers who are less computer illiterate.

In the past, present and future, the excuse of protecting children or citizens will always be used in order to monitor and control dissidents. None of us want crimes to go unpunished, but neither should crime prevention be used as an excuse to reverse the burden of proof.

On the other hand, it is also worth remembering that proprietary operating systems themselves, such as MacOS and Windows, systematically spy on their users. Apple, in fact, has become a large publishing company and collaborates with Microsoft, Google and many others in tracking civilians for economic reasons through the CIA.

There are cybersecurity experts who denounce the hidden practices of these companies. For example, MacOS makes a ‘phone home’ (sends a notification in plain text) to Apple’s servers every time the user launches an application using an unencrypted unique identifier. It also happens with the Siri service disabled:


Writing has always been an act of freedom. Therefore, writing professionals strive to stay away from control and censorship.

It would also be very important that, one day, Scrivener was officially available for Linux so as not to condition or favor the violation of Human Rights committed by companies and governments.


As long as you don’t review every single line of code and build the system from source, there’s no guarantee that even benevolent actors won’t try to screw you. See: Ubuntu Spyware: What to Do? - GNU Project - Free Software Foundation

This also extends to the hardware, of course, including everything you connect to your devices, down to the cables. This USB-C Lightning cable should terrify you | PCWorld

I’m not saying you’re paranoid. You’re probably not paranoid enough.

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This is why truly secure facilities use airgaps. The device can’t phone home if it can’t reach a phone.

Unfortunately, there’s a tradeoff between convenience and security.


Although it would be ideal to review all the code yourself, it is not strictly necessary thanks to a huge community of well-intentioned developers. Most creators do not have dishonest intentions. When something like this happens, a scandal quickly arises. And it is good that such actions are pointed out and criticized.

As I expressed in my message, many companies have interests against users. This does not mean that all companies do it nor does it mean that Linux-related companies are saints or perfect.

In fact, you should look at it from the opposite direction: you can tell that the code contains malicious functionality because you can read it yourself. Can we even know for sure how many terrible features there are in the proprietary software that society uses every day?

If I were paranoid, I wouldn’t use Scrivener because of its proprietary software status. I distinguish between programs according to their purpose and the risk they pose. A program can be controlled, to a certain extent, within an operating system that allows it. However, a proprietary operating system cannot be controlled, sometimes not even within a virtual machine.

Therefore, I place much more emphasis on the importance of free (freedom) systems than on the particular nature of the individual programs that operate on an operating system.


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Shit, what country do you live in? But you know what? This approach has always won, even in liberal societies, because most people seem to value security, or at least a sense of security, over an alarming freedom.

Are you serious? If Linux ever becomes a threat to an authoritarian regime, these people will certainly come up with something to control that too. Ah, and in democratic constitutional states you can simply vote the government out of office.

Reminds me of China, replacing Windows (actually not a bad idea) with – drum roll, please – (their flavor of) Linux to commit human rights violations. That’s an interesting take on “safe” or “reliable”. The Chinese government is phasing out Intel and AMD CPUs and Microsoft's Windows OS because they don't fit its new 'safe and reliable' guidelines

Totally right. Countries that want to spy on their citizens will mandate what their citizens can and can’t use. Using Linux is not a guarantee of privacy per se.

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Security and privacy are not the same. No one can say that free systems based on Linux are more secure, but they are more privacy-focused.

You are confusing the attempts of certain governments to control people through Linux or to launch their own modified distros for malicious purposes, with the objective and demonstrated fact that free software is, in itself , more transparent, democratic and fair with Human Rights because it cannot hide its dark side. That, and no other, is the ethical meaning of free software as defined by Richard Stallman.


Thanks for the education :slightly_smiling_face: After visiting your website … the only thing I “confused” is your age. I could explain that, but you wouldn’t understand.

Just a friendly moderator reminder that OS arguments rarely go anywhere good. If you find yourself talking about the people in the argument instead of the topic, it’s a good sign to step back and find something else to entertain yourself with. Thanks.


Of course, I’m completely tame, thanks AmberV :slightly_smiling_face:

That the hosts of these services can and are “reading” your content should be no surprise to anyone who has ever had their webmail browser tell them it looks like they’ve forgotten to attach the file they said they were forwarding in the email they’re about to send!

Nothing online is private, ever.

Nothing online is solely yours to control, ever.

Nothing solely online is secure against loss, ever.


Nope I’m not getting confused, please don’t condescend me, you don’t know anything about me or what fields of IT I work in. I run Linux at home and the work place, so I’m not against it in any shape or form.