Google+ to shut down after security flaw exposes users' private details

According to a report from The Wall Street Journal, this bug existed from 2015 through March 2018, and Google confirms that it patched the bug in March 2018 after it discovered its existence. And an internal memo noted that while there wasn't any evidence of misuse on behalf of developers, there wasn't a way to know for sure whether any misuse took place.

According to the blog post, the Google Plus data that was potentially exposed included names, email addresses, occupations, date of birth, profile photos and genders.

Google who has now gone public with the data exposure wrote in a blog post that they found no evidence of data misuse. It did not include phone numbers, the content of emails or messages, or other kinds of communication data. If you use the service for work, though, Google+ is not going anywhere.

Google does not yet have a lead EU Supervisory authority, as the breach apparently happened before the EU's new privacy law, the General Data Protection Regulation, was implemented.

This issue has existed 2015 until Google found out about it in March 2018 and made a decision to fix it. Google then had a choice to inform its users but chose not to because it wasn't legally required to and secondly, because it would draw regulatory attention towards itself.

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"None of these thresholds were met here.", she said.

Google also said it would begin restricting the data it provides to outside developers. Google plans to change the way apps ask for permissions, giving Android users more control over which permissions they want to give.

In response to the breach, Google is shutting down all consumer functionality of Google+. The US internet giant said that 90% of Google+ user sessions lasted only five seconds long or less.

But as the Wall Street Journal reports, the move comes after Google discovered a bug that left private user information open to developers in March, but declined to alert users for fear of regulatory scrutiny. Google has also advised they will remove access to the contact interaction data from the Android Contacts API which allowed apps to show you your most recent contacts, within the next few months. Y'know...other than users' data, and consumer trust. Apps also won't be allowed to sell the data for marketing or ad targeting, and any human review of email data will be "strictly limited".

Google has declined to comment on why it held off reporting the breach.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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