Google exposed user data, chose not to tell public - WSJ
08 October, 2018, 22:29
However, up to 500,000 Google+ profiles were affected by the vulnerability, and 438 applications may have used the API.
Monday in its blog post justifying the decision to close the consumer version of Google+, the company said, "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+ will be wound down over 10 months, ending by August, the company said. In fact, usage is pretty minimal on the site, with "90 percent of Google + user sessions" being "less than five seconds".
Google opted not to disclose the issue partly due to fears of regulatory scrutiny, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing unnamed sources and internal documents. The Google+ bug that's been discovered and disclosed was located in the Google+ People API.
So, instead of sticking with the product, Google made a decision to shut it down for consumers and turn it into an Enterprise-exclusive product instead.
Google said it had reviewed the issue, looking at the type of data involved, whether it 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.
Google also noted that the data that was exposed was limited to "optional Google+ Profile fields including name, email address, occupation, gender and age". The bug gave apps access to information on a person's Google+ profile that can be marked as private.
What's more, Google says these apps will have to agree to new rules around handling Gmail data and will be subject to 'security assessments'.
Likely to be equally - or more - controversial, though, is Google's reaction.
After seven highly unsuccessful years, Google+ is effectively dead. To make sure something like this Google+ leak doesn't happen again, this new initiative is set out to protect user's privacy and limit the amount of data developers have access to across the web and Android. In July, the company was criticized after reports that employees for a third-party email app could read emails if those third-party apps had been integrated with email users' Gmail accounts.
Google also said, more broadly, that it was going to strengthen consumer control over data shared with app developers. "Our review showed that Google+ is better suited as an enterprise product where co-workers can engage in internal discussions on a secure corporate social network", Google explained.
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