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09 October 2018, 03:26 | Megan Pierce
Google exposed user data, chose not to tell public - WSJ
Googleannounced on Monday it is shutting down the consumer version of its online social network after fixing a bug exposing private data in as many as 500 000 accounts.
After the Wall Street Journal first broke the story, a small early morning gain was erased as shares dipped two and-a-half percent immediately, and prices recovered a bit to negative one percent on the day. The bug disclosed on Monday, introduced in a software update, exposed private data including name, email address, occupation, gender and age, Google said. The company found no evidence the information was misused by any developers, Smith said.
Meanwhile, Google said the flaw was an unexploited API bug discovered and fixed internally before anyone externally found it - and in any case, it's shuttering Google+ because netizens don't use it. Businesses will still be able to use the service as an internal chat channel, though.
Google is shutting down its long-shunned Plus social network for consumers, following its disclosure of a flaw discovered in March that could have exposed some personal information of up to 500,000...
The Google+ shutdown, meanwhile, will occur over the next 10 months, so get your fill before August 2019.
Google's response: "Our Privacy & Data Protection Office reviewed this issue, looking at the type of data involved, whether we could accurately identify the users to inform, whether there was any evidence of misuse, and whether there were any actions a developer or user could take in response". That right there means that Google had given up on the platform, when the team that is responsible for the product is no longer actively using the product, that is a very bad sign. It was supposed to be a challenger to Facebook's social network, which now has more than 2 billion users.
In a memo cited by the Wall Street Journal, Google's legal and policy staff warned against disclosing the breach, fearing it would draw comparisons to Facebook's mishandling of user data, when more than 50 million Facebook users had their personal information leaked to the data firm Cambridge Analytica.
Google is at the centre of controversy this morning over a report of a massive user data breach that occurred a year ago, with the result that they will be introducing finer grain controls to limit access to user data on the web and Android - and also shutdown Google+ for consumers.
Along with this, Google will also force app developers to provide more detailed explanations of what it intends to do with your Google Account if it's requesting access to it.
Given the potential for abuse, and the fact that nearly no one is using Google+, Alphabet opted to take the path of least resistance and yank the doddering network off life support.
"Every year, we send millions of notifications to users about privacy and security bugs and issues", a spokesperson for Google said in a statement provided to CNN Business.
In a blog post, the company admitted Google+ had failed to achieve "broad consumer or developer adoption" since it launched as a would-be Facebook rival in 2011. Any Android app can ask permission to access a users' phone and SMS data.
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