Google+ Shuts Down After Vulnerability Secret Exposed

Google+ Shuts Down After Vulnerability Secret Exposed

Google+ Shuts Down After Vulnerability Secret Exposed

The demise of Google+ also came as a result of a bug discovered previous year but acknowledged for the first time by Google on Monday, and the flaw in one of its Google+ "People APIs" exposed some private user data to third-party developers, including such information as the occupations, genders, ages, and email addresses of many users.

Some of that qualifies as legally protected personally identifiable information, and its exposure could trigger scrutiny from federal and state regulators, including some who have probed Google before on similar issues.

"The bug meant that apps also had access to Profile fields that were shared with the user, but not marked as public", Google's vice-president of engineering, Ben Smith wrote.

The discovery would have been around the same time as social network giant Facebook was coming under fire after it emerged that as many as 87 million user profiles were harvested and sent to Cambridge Analytica, a political firm employed by the campaign to elect Donald Trump to the presidency. In fact, 90%of Google+ user sessions only last less than five seconds.

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Google+ will be shut down over a 10-month period, concluding in August 2019, as Google admits that it never gained the traction they had hoped.

While Google says there is no clear misuse of profile data that occurred as a result of this breach, MacMillan of the Journal says it raises questions about the company's commitment to user privacy.

Almost 500,000 members of the Google+ social networking site had their user profile data left out in the open, easily accessible to third-party developers for over two years.

Google+ was heavily promoted after its 2011 launch, in the hope of overtaking Facebook in the early days of social media.

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Google will limit Android apps' ability to access SMS data, call logs, and contacts. Google says that "only apps directly enhancing email functionality-such as email clients, email backup services and productivity services", will be given authorization.

The review did highlight the significant challenges in creating and maintaining a successful Google+ that meets consumers' expectations. Google plans to change the way apps ask for permissions, giving Android users more control over which permissions they want to give. "None of these thresholds were met in this instance".

When you hit that, Google will let you know what you're about to do and give you options to get more details about the implications of deleting your account.

Google, replying to requests for comment, defended its decision not to disclose. The company has said it hasn't found any evidence that the exposed data was misused or inappropriately accessed by any third party.

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