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Google to shut down Google Plus after user information exposed

11 October, 2018, 23:41 | Author: Rafael Roberts
  • Google exposed personal data of almost 500,000 and didn't disclose it

The post says that a bug discovered in one of the Google+ People APIs allowed users to can grant access to their profile data, and the public profile information of their friends, to Google+ apps, via the API.

According to WSJ sources, Google CEO Sundar Pichai was briefed on the plan only after the decision not to inform the public was made - riiiiight. "None of these thresholds were met in this instance", the company said.

The report said the company is planning to announce a sweeping set of data privacy measures that include permanently shutting down all consumer functionality of Google+, as part of its response to the incident. The glitch was live for almost three years, according to the reports, but Google decided not to make the breach public because it feared regulation.

The closure is only partial, however: While consumers will find Google+'s doors firmly locked, enterprise customers will be able to continue to use the service - should they so choose - with new features 'purpose-built for businesses'.

But the company has said that other information, such as phone numbers and social media posts, was not put at risk and that it has no evidence that any of the data was improperly collected by outsiders.

Google followed suit, letting outside developers access some Google+ data with users' permission.


"Smith said that despite Google's engineering teams putting in a lot of effort, "[Google+] has not achieved broad consumer or developer adoption, and has seen limited user interaction with apps.

"The Data Protection Commission was not aware of this issue and we now need to better understand the details of the breach, including the nature, impact and risk to individuals and we will be seeking information on these issues from Google", the Irish regulator said. Instead, it's due to Google uncovering a major security vulnerability that exposed the information of up to 500,000 accounts.

Google's plan to withdraw the free version of Google+, scheduled for August, could help strengthen its case to USA policymakers and regulators that it is different from Facebook, which has faced political heat over allegations that data belonging to 87 million of its users was improperly shared with political consultancy Cambridge Analytica.

Besides low usage, Google+ engagement rates are also defeating, with 90-percent of all sessions lasting for under five seconds, according to Alphabet's subsidiary.

Google has declined to comment on why it held off reporting the breach. The Federal Trade Commission has repeatedly investigated privacy incidents at Google and other leading technology companies.

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