Thursday, 18 October, 2018

Google+ to Shut Down Following Bug That Exposed 500K Profiles

Google to shut down social network after half million users’ data exposed by two-year old bug Google+ is officially shutting down
Beatrice Douglas | 10 October, 2018, 05:44

Google is shutting down its failed social network and authentication system Google+.

The news adds to Google's woes and further erodes the narrative that Facebook is the worst offender of the major technology companies on data privacy.

Google was mired in its very own privacy scandal on Monday when The Wall Street Journal revealed that it exposed personal profile data of around 500,000 Google+ users - and then chose to not let people know.

Google will also "limit the apps that may seek permission to access your consumer Gmail data", while Google Play will limit which apps that can ask for a user's phone (including call logs) and SMS data.

Google has been moving away from Google+ for a while, with the company launching new features for its core search engine where popular individuals, like celebrities, are able to directly post updates within search results. No developer exploited the vulnerability or misused data, the review found. Google said today that it found a bug in one of the Google+ People APIs that allowed developers access to profile data like full names, email addresses, birth dates, gender, profile photos, places live, occupation, and relationship status.

The vice president of engineering, Ben Smith, confirmed in a 'Safety and Security' blog post that the company had detected a security bug in March that impacted the profiles of close to half a million users and their information.


The revelation is likely to heighten the stakes of his coming appearance to testify before Congress, amid allegations that technology companies are squelching conservative voices online. But the delay until October in revealing it could reignite long-standing complaints from federal and state lawmakers that tech giants such as Google are reckless with user privacy and not forthcoming enough when breaches and other incidents happen. Instead of reporting this to subscribers of the service, Google made a decision to just let it slide so that it wouldn't be subject to investigation by regulatory agencies.

The company also admitted the low engagement statistics of Google+.

Google goes "beyond legal requirements" and applies "several criteria focused on our users" when deciding whether to provide notice, a spokesperson said in a statement.

The exposed information did not include posts, messages or telephone numbers, a Google spokesperson said.

However, Google will continue to use Google+ for Enterprise purposes as an internal social network for companies rather than for consumers, saying that it is the most popular use of the social network.

Google discovers a bug that may have compromised the data of 500,000 users.

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