Google's Leaked Reasons for Not Announcing Mass User Data Breach

Google's Leaked Reasons for Not Announcing Mass User Data Breach

IT

In the post, Google announced it was closing down the service after the Wall Street Journal revealed the company had known about the bug, which affected all Google+ users, since March this year. According to an internal memo viewed by the Wall Street Journal, Google feared disclosing the issue would be detrimental to its reputation and draw unwanted regulatory attention.

The information exposed in the Google+ data breach included full names, email addresses, birth dates, gender, profile photos, places lived, occupation, and relationship status. Thankfully, according to Google, no developer was aware of the bug, was misusing the Google+ API, or had misused private data from users' profiles.

Google+ was introduced in 2011 as the tech giant's response to the rising social network phenomenon and as a rival to Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks. It is a root-and-branch review of third-party developer access to Google accounts and Android device data and of the philosophy around apps' data access. The consumer version of Google+ now has low usage and engagement: "90 percent of Google+ user sessions are less than five seconds".

The consumer functionality of Google+ will be closing over a 10 month period, while Google transitions the product to be used internally by the Enterprise.

Google said it's pulling the plug on its unpopular Google+ social network after admitting to a software bug that exposed the personal information of as many as 500,000 users.

Around 500,000 users were affected by this, potentially.

Google is also updating Gmail's User Data Policy for the consumer version to limit access to user data.

Google's latest efforts may be a few months too late, but the company is trying its best to calm some nerves after the latest security breach disclosure.

With that said, it's not likely that Google+ will be sorely missed, although it's certainly worth noting that it's shutting down. Google CEO Sundar Pichai reportedly is expected to take the hot seat in another congressional hearing after the United States midterm elections in November.

Smith, however, announced that Google Plus will not be shut down immediately.

The bug: This had been around since 2015 and was found in code that lets third-party app developers access publicly available Google+ profile data about a user and their connections, so long as the user gives permission.

  • Terrell Bush