Friday, 19 October, 2018

Google+ shuts down after massive privacy breach (and because nobody used it)

BERLIN GERMANY- AUGUST 21 The Google Plus social network logo is seen in the company's offices behind Android toys Google+ is officially shutting down
Pete Mitchell | 10 October, 2018, 05:46

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.

Google today revealed that it's shutting down the consumer version of Google+.

Internet giant Google has said it is shutting down the consumer version of its own social networking site Google+ due to low usage and a bug discovered in March previous year that could leak the data of about half a million of its users.

Even if a third party did not exploit the security vulnerability identified by Google, the SEC probably would be interested in whether investors were properly notified about the risks and the incident, Stark said.

While Google has faced scrutiny in recent months for allowing third-party apps to access and share data from Gmail accounts, much of the privacy uproar hitting the tech industry has focused on Facebook. The US internet giant said that 90% of Google+ user sessions lasted only five seconds long or less.

Google has been moving away from Google+ for a while, with the company launching new features for its core search engine where popular individuals, like celebrities, are able to directly post updates within search results.

Google found the bug in March and repaired it, according to a Google blog post.

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Despite the security gaff, Google officials opted not to disclose the problem at the time over fear of intense criticism akin to what Facebook went through after its privacy problems.

Facebook's chief operating officer and Twitter's chief executive testified at the hearing, where an empty chair was pointedly left for Google after the committee rejected Google's top lawyer as a witness.

Google has declined to comment on why it held off reporting the breach.

That breach left the personal information of about 500,000 users exposed, and was caused by a bug on a People API on Google+. However, it's possible that data were abused and Google just doesn't know about it yet.

As a part of the announcement of the breach, Google has made a decision to implement more fine-grained permissions for accessing user data from apps.

In the last two months, United States politicians on both sides of the aisle have stepped up their attacks on Google, with Republicans accusing it of harbouring biases against them and Democrats questioning whether the company has gotten too big and powerful. We've chose to focus on our enterprise efforts and will be launching new features purpose-built for businesses. Info like phone numbers, email messages, timeline posts, and direct messages were not surfaced by this API.

The issue apparently came about when a user granted permission to an app, allowing it to access their public data.

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