Terms & Conditions: SugarSync’s terms are simple syrup sweet

Terms and conditions sugarsync

What are you really agreeing to when you click that fateful “agree” button? Terms & Conditions cuts out the legal lingo to spell it out in plain English.

SugarSync has long been one of my favorite cloud storage options. While Dropbox stole the show over the past year or so, SugarSync has officially made it back onto my list of most-used apps with the recent launch of SugarSync 2.0. Despite my affinity for the service, however, I had never actually read its terms of service and privacy policy – and I’m guessing most of you haven’t either. When I did, I was pleasantly surprised by what I found. Here are the most important parts of SugarSync’s user agreements.

Terms of service

Use it or lose it

Like most other cloud storage services out there, SugarSync offers users 5GB of free storage just for signing up. But beware: If you don’t use your SugarSync account for 90 days or more, it may be automatically deleted. So just be sure not to store the sole copies of your vacation photos in there. (In fact, never keep just one copy of anything important in a cloud storage locker – that’s just good computing practice.)

Free trials can cost you

SugarSync sometimes offers free trials, which provide greater storage than the 5GB free accounts, but only last a limited time. If you provide a credit card when you sign up for your free trial, you will automatically be charged if you keep your account as-is after the trial period is over. If you didn’t provide a credit card number upon signing up, then your account will automatically be deleted at the end of the trial period.

Mind the data gap

This should go without say, but just in case: If you choose to downgrade your account from, say, 60GB of storage to 30GB, you must make sure to decrease the amount of data stored in your account to 30GB or less. If you have more than that still in your account, SugarSync will continue to charge you the higher rate.

Hey, stop that

If you’re a regular T&C reader, you know that virtually every website or online service lists a variety of things you may not do. SugarSync is no different, and the forbidden activities are entirely standard: Nothing that breaks the law; nothing “obscene” (which SugarSync reserves the right to determine itself; no nude image or videos (so don’t store your porn collection in your cloud file); no harassing, racist, libelous, fraudulent, or malicious content; and, of course, nothing that violates any copyrights. All Windows program files (files that end in .exe) are also forbidden, and will not upload to your cloud file.

Press cancel anytime

You are free to cancel your account at any time. If you decide to cancel in the middle of a month for which you’ve already paid, SugarSync will not reimburse you for the time you’ve chosen to abandon. All files that remain in your account will be saved for a “reasonable” period of time, just in case you decide to re-join SugarSync. While the company’s terms do not say exactly what “reasonable” means, I’d wager it’s something close to 90 days.

Privacy policy

Private means private

Perhaps the best part of SugarSync’s policies is its firm commitment to putting you in charge of how your files and information is shared. Want to tweet links to uploaded photos, or share pictures to Facebook? Go right ahead. But that’s your decision. SugarSync makes it clear: “Your Files are not accessible by third parties unless you elect to make them available to others through the Service. We respect the privacy and confidentiality of your Files, so we agree never to disclose your Files to anyone unless you instruct us to do so or a court orders us to disclose them …”

Speaking of court orders…

One thing to keep in mind is that any file you upload to a cloud storage service like SugarSync can be accessed by law enforcement without a warrant after it’s been on the cloud servers for 180 days or more. This may soon change, thanks to a new bill that is making its way through Congress right now. But that has not yet gone into effect. So until it does, don’t keep anything stored in cloud service that you wouldn’t feel comfortable with the police looking through.

Privacy odds and ends

In addition to its commitment to protecting your files from third-party access, SugarSync also says that it will not share personal information with third-parties, unless you direct it to do so. The company may share “certain pieces of aggregated, non-personal information, such as the average number of photographs being stored by users.” And because SugarSync is not supported by advertising, you don’t have to worry about stepping into the pile of privacy nonsense that goes along with that.