Google Shuts Down Google+ After Privacy Breach

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But as the Wall Street Journal reports, the move comes after Google discovered a bug that left private user information open to developers in March, but declined to alert users for fear of regulatory scrutiny. "Earlier this year, right at the time they discovered this, the Facebook Cambridge Analytica data breach had just happened, there's a lot of regulator scrutiny of Facebook and tech companies and how they're handling data, and internally, they were anxious about being pulled into this conversation in a bigger way".

Google admitted in the blog post disclosing the bug that usage of Google+ has dropped off in recent years.

These actions are only the beginning, with Google advising they will roll out additional controls and update their policies across more APIs in the coming months.

According to the WSJ (Via Engadget), a software vulnerability gave external developers on Google+ access to private Google+ user data for years; between 2015 and 2018.

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The issue apparently came about when a user granted permission to an app, allowing it to access their public data. The error allowed the details of nearly 500,000 people to be accessed by the applications, even when they had demanded that they keep their data private.

Google said it hasn't yet found any evidence that the data obtained as a result of the bug was misused. The company, however, can not confirm which users were affected by the bug when it was active from 2015 to 2018.

The review did highlight the significant challenges in creating and maintaining a successful Google+ that meets consumers' expectations.

Ortega said such delays in reporting data leaks could become more common among technology companies as they looked to protect their reputation in the wake of legislation and privacy laws.

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Google said today that it has chose to shut down the consumer version of the Google+ app.

Google+ was introduced in 2011 as the tech giant's response to the rising social network phenomenon and as a rival to Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks. "We made a decision to sunset the consumer version of Google+", the company said in the post. Enterprise users will continue to have access to the platform for the foreseeable future - Google says the social media website is better as an enterprise product, anyway. This is in direct voliation of GDPR which says that any data breach should be reported within 72 hours. This bug allowed apps that had access to Profile fields that were shared with the user but not marked as public.

Google also said it would begin restricting the data it provides to outside developers.

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