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10 October 2018, 04:26 | Cameron Gross
Google exposed personal data of almost 500,000 and didn't disclose it
Googlesaid the affected data was limited to static optional Google+ profile fields including names, email addresses, occupations, gender and age.
In March 2018, Google became aware of a security breach that had exposed user data since 2015, the Journal reports.
Following the news that a Google Plus security breach resulted in the exposure of 500,000 people's private information, the search engine giant has said it will be shutting down its social network for consumers.
Google launched Google+ in 2011 with an emphasis on privacy, and included fine-grained tools to let users decide what content to share with which of their contacts.
The company said it will give consumers more control over what data apps can access. The Wall Street Journal's Douglas MacMillan and Robert McMillan report that Google was anxious about public perception and regulatory scrutiny, and that Google wanted to avoid comparisons with Facebook, which at the time was dealing with its own data privacy scandal. That said, Google had confirmed that the data hasn't been misused.
"Had this breach occurred just a few months later, Google could be subject to strict GDPR fines for not keeping user data safe". According to market research company Statista, the Google platform does not feature anywhere in the top 20 list of most famous social media sites based on active users as of July 2018. 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.
Even with the data patched, Google has advised they will be shutting down Google+ for consumers.
"Only apps directly enhancing email functionality - such as email clients, email backup services and productivity services (e.g., CRM and mail merge services) - will be authorised to access this data", Smith added. In the company's own words, "90 per cent of Google+ user sessions are less than five seconds".
The decision to not alert users was made after company officials wrote a memo concluding Google wasn't legally obligated to disclose the bug, and that there would be no point in telling users since the company had no way to confirm who was affected, according to The WSJ.
Google claims there was no evidence of misuse of the data.
The company cited the reason of the closure as the fact that Google+ had failed to achieve "broad consumer or developer adoption".
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