Google Plus to close after bug leaks personal information

Google Plus to close after bug leaks personal information

Google Plus to close after bug leaks personal information

In a world where there seems to be a new social network data breach every couple of weeks, according to a Wall Street Journal report, a software glitch within Google+ potentially gave third-party developers access to hundreds of thousands of user's private data.

The data involved was limited to optional profile fields, including name, age, gender, occupation and email address, Google said.

The data breach does not include any other data a user may have posted or connected to Google+ or any other service.

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Google launched Google+ in 2011 with an emphasis on privacy, and included fine-grained tools to let users decide what content to share with which of their contacts. However, the announcement came moments after The Wall Street Journal reported Google had opted not to disclose a bug affecting Google+ users at least in part to avoid additional regulatory scrutiny. Google CEO Sundar Pichai was briefed on the decision to not disclose the finding, after an internal committee had already decided the plan, the Journal said. Google claims it didn't report the incident right away as it didn't find any evidence of misuse of the profile data by any of the app developers. There is also no evidence that any data has been misused.

That fiasco had raised questions about the privacy practices of other big tech firms, including Google. Google said up to 438 external applications, such as online games or quizzes, could have exploited the flaw. Google said that 90 percent of all Google+ sessions don't last more than five seconds, confirming rumors that the site was more of a ghost town, when compared to Twitter and Facebook. For one thing, soon, only Android apps which the user has assigned as their default for use will be allowed to request certain permissions like making calls and sending SMS.

"Whenever user data may have been affected, we go beyond our legal requirements and apply several criteria focused on our users in determining whether to provide notice".

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The company, however, can not confirm which users were affected by the bug when it was active from 2015 to 2018.

Google took a one-two punch to the chin today by having to admit its once ballyhooed Facebook competitor is a dud.

Google says it began reviewing developer access at the start of this year, so these new policies might have arrived even without the WSJ's reporting.

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