Skip to Content
Google Drive blocking violations of terms
© Mohamed Ahmed Soliman |

Google Drive could start blocking files it says are against its terms of service

Google Drive is a cloud-based storage system that lets you store files, which you can access by logging into your account from any phone, tablet or computer. It’s useful for keeping files organized and sharing them with others.

What happens when the network goes down? You can’t access your stuff. A couple of years ago, Google enabled G Suite users to access their files offline. Now anyone with a Google Drive account can do the same. Tap or click here to learn how to make your Google Drive files available offline.

But Google is about to crack down on what’s being stored in Google Drive, restricting access to files deemed in violation of policy. If a file is flagged, it will no longer be publicly accessible. If you find yourself on the receiving end of this type of this policy violation, don’t lose hope. You have options.

Here’s the backstory

In a recent blog post, Google outlined a new policy affecting Google Drive files. If one is identified as violating Google’s Terms of Service or program policies, it may be restricted. This means it will no longer be accessible to anyone but the owner, even if someone else has a link to it.

Google’s Terms of Service include rules of conduct stating that you must comply with the law and respect others’ privacy and intellectual property rights. You cannot threaten or encourage abuse or harm to yourself or others or interfere with Google’s services.

You must also respect copyright laws and may not copy, modify, distribute, sell, or lease any part of Google’s services or software.

Google’s Abuse Program Policies and Enforcement details violations such as account hijacking, child abuse and exploitation, dangerous and illegal activities, malware and other malicious content such as phishing, sexually explicit material, spam, violence and gore, violent organizations and movements and more.

The rollout for this new policy began on Dec. 14, 2021.

Related: Best ways to organize your cloud storage files

What happens when a file is flagged?


The owner of a flagged item in Google Drive will receive an email notification informing them which policies were violated. The shared drive manager gets the email if it’s a shared drive.

You can request a review if you don’t believe your file violates Google’s Terms of Service or program policies. To request a review of a flagged file: Open the file, click Share, then click Request a review.

The Abuse Program Policies and Enforcement document states that Google “may make exceptions based on artistic, educational, documentary, or scientific considerations, or where there are other substantial benefits to the public from not taking action on the content.”

Keep reading

Photo storage options: Google Photos vs. iCloud vs. IDrive

Need to liven up those Google Docs? How to find and use free templates

Komando Community background

Join the Komando Community

Get even more know-how in the Komando Community! Here, you can enjoy The Kim Komando Show on your schedule, read Kim's eBooks for free, ask your tech questions in the Forum — and so much more.

Try it for 30 days