Saturday, 23 February, 2019

Google Shuts Down Google+ After Privacy Breach

A bug in Google+ exposed the data of hundreds of thousands. Google covered it A bug in Google+ exposed the data of hundreds of thousands. Google covered
Sherri Watson | 11 October, 2018, 23:44

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.

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

Shares of Alphabet Inc fell over 1% on the NASDAQ after the news of Google+ shutting down was made public.

In the Google+ incident, which the Wall Street Journal claims was kept hidden to avoid a regulatory backlash, users' details including names, dates of birth, relationship data, employers and job titles were potentially available to developers with access to its APIs.

Project Strobe will also lead to Google account holders getting more fine-grained controls over the data they share with apps, which now have overly broad access to user information, Google said.

Webroot senior threat research analyst Tyler Moffitt says, "Although it seems that Google has shut down an entire line of business due to this breach, from a GDPR perspective, the company appears to have gotten off lightly".

The bug meant that private profile data of at least 500,000 users may have been exposed to hundreds of external developers. The company has found no evidence that Profile data was misused.

But Google+ and the company's other experiments with social media struggled to win over users because of complicated features and privacy mishaps.

The Google+ data leak bug was found as part of "Project Strobe", a root-and-branch review of what data developers could access from Google accounts, and Android devices. 'Given these challenges and the very low usage of the consumer version of Google+, we chose to sunset the consumer version of Google+.

In an unexpected blog posted today, Google revealed it was closing the rather unpopular social network Google+. Google also says that instead of showing all the permissions required in a single screen, apps will show you each requested permission one at a time so that you have a better knowledge of what you're giving permission to. By the company's reckoning, up to 438 applications may have been able to access private profile data because of the software bug.

David C. Vladeck, former director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection and now a Georgetown Law professor, said the new Google+ incident is "obviously a problem for Google".