Friday, 19 October, 2018

Google exposed data for hundreds of thousands of users

Google exposed personal data of almost 500,000 and didn't disclose it Google Shutters Google+ Following Privacy Vulnerability
Cecil Davis | 12 October, 2018, 11:46

However, the announcement came moments after The Wall Street Journal reported Google had opted not to disclose a bug affecting Google+ users at least in part to avoid additional regulatory scrutiny. The exposed data includes occupations, genders, ages, and email addresses of many users. Google claims it didn't report the incident right away as it didn't find any evidence of misuse of the profile data by any of the app developers.

While Google says there is no clear misuse of profile data that occurred as a result of this breach, MacMillan of the Journal says it raises questions about the company's commitment to user privacy.

Google+ was introduced in 2011 as the tech giant's response to the rising social network phenomenon and as a rival to Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks. In light of the breach, google has announced that it'll be shutting down google+ over the next few months, while also limiting API access in other Google product apps like Gmail. The project will have Google reviewing third-party developer access to Google accounts, Android device data, and the corresponding apps' data access.

Google is now shutting down Google+, but not due to the lack of users and activity compared to rival Facebook.

Monday's report comes in the wake of Google CEO Sundar Pichai upcoming testimony before Congress over concerns the search engine is bias against conservatives. This method will better secure third party APIs with Google services, allowing for less data to be given to outside applications.

It was a bug in the API that led to the glitch; outside developers were able to collect profile data despite privacy settings meant to ensure the information wasn't public. But those apps look downright buoyant compared with Google's own confessed numbers for Google+.

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The decision to not alert users was made after company officials wrote a memo concluding Google wasn't legally obligated to disclose the bug, and that there would be no point in telling users since the company had no way to confirm who was affected, according to The WSJ. Why did Google hide the security vulnerability? .

For Google, a data privacy reckoning may finally come as a result of a service that it admits nearly no one uses much anymore.

Google also said it would begin restricting the data it provides to outside developers.

A Google spokesperson said there were "significant challenges in creating and maintaining a successful Google+ that meets consumers' expectations".

"The consumer version of Google+ now has low usage and engagement: 90 percent of Google+ user sessions are less than 5 seconds".