Google exposed user data, feared repercussions of disclosing to public

Google exposed user data, feared repercussions of disclosing to public

Alphabet Inc, Google's parent company, said about 5,00,000 Google+ accounts were potentially affected by a bug that may have exposed their data to external developers. Explaining this bug, Google said, "With this API, users can grant access to their Profile data, and the public Profile information of their friends to Google+ apps". 'None of these thresholds were met in this instance. According to a report published Monday by The Wall Street Journal, the vulnerability wasn't disclosed because Google didn't want to be subjected to regulatory scrutiny from lawmakers.

Google said it patched the bug in March this year, and Smith said Google found no evidence that any developer was aware of the bug or had abused the API.

Users who connect third-party apps with Google will get more granular control over what data gets shared.

Companies have to inform a supervisory authority within 72 hours of a personal data breach under the EU's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) - unless the breach is not likely to risk the rights and freedom of affected users. Still, Facebook's Cambridge Analytica breach was revealed in March, and that didn't prevent a £500,000 ($US652,000) fine by Britain's Information Commissioner's Office. "Given these challenges and the very low usage of the consumer version of Google+, we chose to sunset the consumer version of Google+", Google said in the blog announcement.

All of this has led Google to finally admit Google+ was a failure, with the company announcing that it will close over the next ten months with a pivot to the enterprise market in the cards.

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Google will also remove access to contact interaction data from the Android Contacts API within the next few months. A spokeswoman for Google didn't immediately return a request for further comment.

When Google+ launched in 2011, it was envisioned as a possible rival to Facebook, The Associated Press reported.

Earlier this year, Facebook acknowledged that tens of millions of users had personal data hijacked by Cambridge Analytica, a political firm working for Donald Trump in 2016. The campaign, titled "Don't Shut Down Google Plus", has more than 8,000 signatures at the time of writing.

The issue apparently came about when a user granted permission to an app, allowing it to access their public data.

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