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Report: Google Tried To Cover Up A Data Breach

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Report: Google Tried To Cover Up A Data Breach
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Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOGL)’s social networking platform, Google+, was launched in 2011 as a way to compete against key players like Facebook, Inc. (NASDAQ: FB).

Google said Monday that a software glitch in the site allowed outsiders access to private profile data between 2015 and 2018 — something the company discovered in March and neglected to announce. 

What Happened

“There are significant challenges in creating and maintaining a successful Google+ product that meets consumers’ expectations," the company said. 

As a way to combat the privacy issues, Google outlined four ways it plans to tighten security: 

  • Shutting down Google+ for consumers.
  • Launching more granular Google Account permissions in individual dialog boxes.
  • Limiting the types of permissible use cases.
  • Reducing apps’ ability to receive call log and SMS permissions on Android devices.

Why It’s Important

Google's announcement comes on the heels of Facebook’s disclosure of data breaches in the accounts of roughly 50 million users and as well as Senate hearings concerning data protection and social media privacy.

The Wall Street Journal reported Monday that Google chose not to disclose the breach when it was discovered, partly due to concerns that it would draw regulatory and reputational scrutiny. The newspaper cited sources briefed on the incident and documents that it reviewed. 

Google CEO Sundar Pichai was aware of the plan to leave users in the dark, a decision reached by an internal committee, WSJ said. 

According to Tech Crunch, "496,951 users’ full names, email addresses, birth dates, gender, profile photos, places lived, occupation and relationship status were potentially exposed."

What’s Next

Google said it plans to wind down Google+ over a period of 10 months.

“In the coming months, we’ll roll out additional controls and updating policies across more of our APIs. As we do so, we’ll work with our developer partners to give them appropriate time to adjust and update their apps and services," the companys aid. 

Google shares were down 1.33 percent at $1,152.01 at the time of publication Monday. 

Related Links:

50 Million Facebook Accounts Hit By Security Breach

Analyst: Negative Press, Privacy Scandal Won't Keep Facebook From Having A Solid Quarter

Posted-In: Data privacy techcrunchNews Top Stories Tech Media General Best of Benzinga

 

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