Google exposed data for hundreds of thousands of users
10 October, 2018, 16:28 | Author: Rafael Roberts
Googleannounced today that it is shutting down the Google+ social network after the company's engineers found an API bug that might have exposed some private profile data for more than 500,000 Google+ users. And an internal memo noted that while there wasn't any evidence of misuse on behalf of developers, there wasn't a way to know for sure whether any misuse took place. In turn, this meant that nearly 500,000 users' names, email addresses, dates of birth, gender, location, occupation, and relationship status were made available to developers, all without their knowledge. The flaw exposed user data from 2015 until this past March, according to the report.
Despite some news outlets focusing on Google+ shutting down, or on the data exposure itself, BuzzFeed News tech reporter Ryan Mac expressed that the real story was the company's response.
"Going forward, consumers will get more fine-grained control over what account data they choose to share with each app", Google said. However, a report by The Wall Street Journal newspaper suggested that the Mountain View, California, company wanted to avoid drawing regulatory scrutiny.
Per the Wall Street Journal, Chief Executive Sundar Pichai was briefed on the plan to not disclose the data breach. Now, only apps that fit a particular use case will be able to access these permissions.
Google also said it would begin restricting the data it provides to outside developers.
Google also said the consumer version of Google+ had low usage and engagement and 90% of user sessions are less than five seconds long, essentially trashing its own product to cover up.
Google claims there was no evidence of misuse of the data.
"Our analysis showed that up to 438 applications may have used this API", Google said.
Ortega said such delays in reporting data leaks could become more common among technology companies as they looked to protect their reputation in the wake of legislation and privacy laws.
Google, replying to requests for comment, defended its decision not to disclose. (An earlier WSJ piece described how some Gmail apps were allowing employees to read users' emails and sell the data to marketers.) The changes apply to new Gmail apps immediately, and to existing ones early next year.
Microsoft has now fixed this problem, and Windows 10's October 2018 Update should stop deleting these "old" folders full of files. If there are still files in the "Documents" folder then you're not affected by the issue, according to another tweet from Sarkar.
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For comparison's sake, 190,178 new voters were registered via Vote .org nationwide during September and 56,669 in August. Blackburn has not responded to the message nor Swift's assertion that her voting record is anti-woman and anti-equality.
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Google+ to shut down after breach involving 500,000 users
By the company's reckoning, up to 438 applications may have been able to access private profile data because of the software bug. News of the bug sent shares of Google's parent company, Alphabet, down as much as 2.2 percent to $1,142.43 on Monday afternoon.