Google exposed personal data of nearly 500,000 and didn't disclose it

Google shutting down social network Google+ after security bug disclosed

The company did not disclose the glitch because it didn't want to invite regulatory scrutiny from lawmakers, the Journal said.

Shortly after this report was published, Google released its full response outlining how it plans on covering its butt and keep data safe under an initiative called "Project Strobe".

Last month, Google Chief Privacy Officer Keith Enright - alongside representatives from other tech and telecom giants including Apple, Amazon and AT&T - testified before the Senate on privacy practices in Silicon Valley.

Finding 1: There are significant challenges in creating and maintaining a successful Google+ product that meets consumers' expectations. The consumer version of Google+ now has low usage and engagement: "90 percent of Google+ user sessions are less than five seconds". "The consumer version of Google+ now has low usage and engagement: 90 percent of Google+ user sessions are less than five seconds", the company said in a statement. The info that was possibly exposed was only name, email address, occupation, gender and age.

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. Up to 438 applications on Google Plus had access to this API, though Google said they have no evidence any developers were aware of the vulnerability.

Google said it hasn't yet found any evidence that the data obtained as a result of the bug was misused.

"I think Google does have a public relationship issue and this now makes their lack of openness even worse", Ivan Feinseth, an analyst at Tigress Financial Partners said.

Amazon's Alexa app looks totally different now and we love it
For example, the Devices tab, where users add, group, and control their smart devices, was previously a black-and-white list. So, if you ask Alexa to find the nearest Starbucks, it will direct you to it and tell you how late it's open.

In a memo viewed by WSJ that was sent to senior executives, including CEO Sundar Pichai, Google's legal and policy staff stated that disclosing the incident would trigger "immediate regulatory interest".

The company said the bug was located in the Google+ People API. It patched the issue - which could have been present since 2015 - in March 2018.

A bug in Google+ exposed the personal data of almost 500,000 people and Google chose not to disclose it out of fears of regulatory pressure.

So, quite a few security and privacy changes were announced here. The office looks at what data was taken, what affected users need to be informed, if there was any evidence of data abuse, and whether or not users could effectively respond.

The firm is also ending access to contact interaction data on Android devices. Instead of seeing a single screen asking for permission to use your Google account, you'll now see individual pop-up boxes for each item an app is requesting access to with an explanation of what's being requested. The first move? Shut down Google+ for consumers.

Only email clients, email backup services and productivity services will be able to access this data.

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