ADVISORY: Security and Privacy Concerns Raised by Google Desktop Version 3

Google Desktop Version 3, a file search application, introduced a new function named "search across computers" that raises possible security and privacy concerns. To enable this search function, file information from the source computer is stored on Google servers and may be accessed from any other computer. File types subject to this new service include Web history files, Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, Powerpoint presentations, PDF files and text files.

Desktop Version 3 provides several configuration options. If this application is incorrectly administered, users could transmit files with confidential information to Google servers. Employees of the university who access electronic files containing university-restricted data are advised not to use this new search service as it could represent a violation of law and/or university policy. Questions regarding the proper handling of electronic university-restricted data can be sent to the email address:

Further information is available at:

Google Desktop, Search Across Computers,

Google Copies Your Hard Drive - Government Smiles in Anticipation

Manage Google's Desktop Search Now or Lock It Out

Privacy and Access to Information Policy, UC Davis

Privacy of Health Information Policy, UC Davis

Electronic Information Security Policy, BFB-IS3, University of California