Google Shutters Google+ Following Privacy Vulnerability
11 October, 2018, 23:44
The Wall Street Journal says it reviewed an internal memo circulated among Google's legal staff and senior executives that warned of "immediate regulatory interest" and public comparisons to Facebook's user information leak to Cambridge Analytica should the mistake become public. In the blog post, Google said its "Privacy & Data Protection Office" decided the company was not required to report the security issue. "None of these thresholds were met here". 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.
Google+ minus people: In a blog post published after the article ran, Google said it had found no evidence data had been abused, and that it would shut off consumer access to Google+ (a corporate version will presumably continue to run). It also said that it would strengthen Android app permission requirements to give users more fine-grained control over their mobile phone data, and that it would make it harder for apps to access sensitive information, like SMS messages and call records.
"Our review showed that Google+ is better suited as an enterprise product where co-workers can engage in internal discussions on a secure corporate social network", Google said.
Google today revealed it'd be shutting down the consumer version of Google+ in response to a previously undisclosed security flaw - and also because no one's really using it.
Google+ was launched in June, 2011 as a way to compete with other social networks such as Facebook.
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According to the newspaper, the glitch enabled outside developers to access the data between 2015 and March 2018.
"If Google hadn't obtained consent from the users of Google+ to share their information with the software developers, then Google could well have problems with the FTC", said Vladeck. However, the firm "found no evidence that any Profile data was misused".
The Google Plus data potentially exposed includes names, email addresses, occupations, dates of birth, genders and profile photos. The consumer version of Google+ now has low usage and engagement: "90 percent of Google+ user sessions are less than five seconds".
Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment. According to market research company Statista, the Google platform does not feature anywhere in the top 20 list of most famous social media sites based on active users as of July 2018.
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