Monday, 10 December, 2018

Google+ leaked personal details, will be shut down

Google to shut down Google+ after users’ data exposed Google exposed user data, chose not to tell public - WSJ
Troy Mann | 08 October, 2018, 22:30

This report also indicated that Google planned to essentially shut down Google+ as it unveils new security measures, and the company quickly made that official in an announcement, saying the platform was permanently closing its doors to consumers. As part of that, a bug in Google + was found that could have been a potential leak if it wasn't caught in time. Google said in a blog post that almost 500,000 users may have been impacted, but because the company keeps the log data from this specific API for only two weeks at a time, it can't fully confirm who was truly impacted and who was not.

Shares of its parent company Alphabet Inc, however, were down 1.5 percent at $1150.75 in response to what was the latest in a run of privacy issues to hit the United States' big tech companies.

It said, "To give people a full opportunity to transition, we will implement this wind-down over a 10-month period, slated for completion by the end of next August".

The enterprise version of Google+ is to continue.

But the company did not disclose the vulnerability when it fixed it in March because the company didn't want to invite regulatory scrutiny from lawmakers, according to a report Monday by the Wall Street Journal.

Specifically, the issue disclosed Monday came through one of the Google+ "People" APIs, a developer tool available to third-party app developers.

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Users can grant access to their Profile data, and the public Profile information of their friends, to Google+ apps, via the API.

But the decision to shut down Google+ seems largely due to a previously undisclosed security breach that exposed users' profile data. It also found "no evidence that any developer was aware of this bug, or abusing the API", and it found "no evidence that any profile data was misused".

This data is limited to static, optional Google+ Profile fields including name, email address, occupation, gender and age.

Under the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), if personal data is breached, a company needs to inform a supervisory authority within 72 hours, unless the breach is unlikely to result in a risk to the rights and freedom of users. By giving developers more explicit rules of the road, and helping users control your data, we can ensure that we keep doing just that.

Google also announced new API changes in an effort to restrict developers' access to data on Android devices and Gmail. This should translate to only your default phone and texting apps having access to your call and SMS data. They'll further limit these permissions by removing contact interaction data for the Android Contacts API.

Google has already recently drawn controversy over its data collection practices.

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