Digital Privacy: “Google Hid Major Google+ Security Flaw that Exposed Users’ Personal Information”
UPDATED (October 11, 2018) Senators Asks Google To Explain Delay In Disclosing Vulnerability (via Reuters)
Alphabet Inc’s Google said on Monday up to 500,000 Google+ user accounts were potentially affected by a bug that may have exposed their data to external developers, and the company is shutting down the social network for consumers.
Google opted not to disclose the issue partly due to fears of regulatory scrutiny, the Wall Street Journal reported
The news, originally reported by The Wall Street Journal ahead of Google’s announcement, means that Google+ profile information like name, email address, occupation, gender, and age were exposed, even when that data was listed as private and not public. However, Google says that it has no evidence to suggest any third-party developers were aware of the bug or abused it. The bug appears to have been active between 2015 and 2018.
The company found no evidence the information was misused by any developers, Smith said. A spokeswoman for Google didn’t immediately return a request for further comment.
Since the bug and subsequent security hole started in 2015 and was discovered in March before Europe’s GDPR went into effect in May, Google will likely be spared a 2 percent of global annual revenue fine for failing to disclose the issue within 72 hours. The company could still face class-action lawsuits and public backlash. On the bright side, G+ posts and messages, Google account data and phone numbers, and G Suite enterprise content wasn’t exposed.
The fiasco could thrust Google into the same churning sea of scrutiny currently drowning Facebook, just as the company feared.
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UPDATE: Statements/Updates From Google
Project Strobe: Protecting Your Data, Improving Our Third-Party APIs, and Sunsetting Consumer Google+
Providing a Safe And Secure Experience For Our Users
More Granular Google Account Permissions with Google OAuth and APIs