Google to shut down Google Plus after user information exposed

A bug in Google+ exposed the data of hundreds of thousands. Google covered it

The post says that a bug discovered in one of the Google+ People APIs allowed users to can grant access to their profile data, and the public profile information of their friends, to Google+ apps, via the API.

According to The Wall Street Journal, who first reported the story, Google refused to immediately disclose the bug when it was fixed back in March due to fear of regulatory scrutiny from lawmakers. Those developers were granted access to user data including names, email addresses, birth dates, gender, profile photos, places lived, occupation and relationship status. It said it would add "more granular" screens for granting permission to access data, and was adding new limits to the data that third-party apps can use.

The WSJ report said that a memo, prepared by Google's legal and policy staff and shared with senior executives, warned that disclosing the incident would likely trigger "immediate regulatory interest" and invite comparisons to Facebook's leak of user information to data firm Cambridge Analytica. This privacy breach, in addition to dwindling user numbers and engagement, has prompted the search giant to shutter the consumer side of Google+.

In the blog post, Smith says Google discovered the bug in March as part of Project Strobe-"a root-and-branch review of third-party developer access to Google account and Android device data and of our philosophy around apps' data access".

This data privacy glitch is just like Facebook's Cambridge Analytica scandal, except it isn't. Google CEO Sundar Pichai was allegedly briefed on the company's plan not to notify users about the bug.

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Google's top executives have displayed a reluctance to appear in front of Congress recently.

Google+ was, of course, Google's response to Facebook that never quite caught on with consumers. But for the year, stock in Google's parent company is up 10%.

"It's important for consumers to realise that connecting apps in social media platforms only increases the amount of valuable information that could potentially be breached, as well as increased attack vectors that hackers can leverage".

"Even if the problem was an unanticipated bug, what is Google's defense for concealing that bug for six months, especially if users could have taken steps to mitigate the. sharing of their data?" By doing this, it hopes to make users of Google's apps confident that their data is secure.

People may not know all the gory details, but when they choose to use Facebook, Google+, Twitter, WeChat, iPhones and other technology products or services, they generally understand that the companies might collect dossiers on what they read, who they chat with and where they go.

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