Google+ shutting down after a data breach
Google has made recent headline news, that it will be shutting down its social media network Google+ after user data was left exposed. Private information of users and their friends were accessible by third-party developers due to a bug in the API. According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, the problem was known to Google back in March of this year, but the company did not disclose it. Google has said that 500,000 users had been affected by this. The WSJ quoted an internal Google memo that said doing so would draw "immediate regulatory interest".
Up to 438 different third-party applications may have had access to private information due to the bug, but Google supposedly has no way of knowing whether they did because it only retains logs of API use for two weeks.
This is a similar scenario in which Mark Zuckerberg found himself not long ago, the similarity was obvious to Google, hence why the company chose not to disclose the data leak, the Wall Street Journal revealed Monday, in order to avoid the public relations annoyance and potential regulatory enforcement. After the publication of the story, Google broadcasted that it would shut down consumer access to Google+ and improve privacy protections for those third-party applications. It also announced reforms to its privacy policies designed to give users more control on the amount of data they share with third-party app developers.
The US professor David Carroll, sued Cambridge Analytica earlier this year to find out what data the company had saved about him. He said that given the legal issues Facebook faces over its Cambridge Analytica cover-up, it’s anticipated Google tried to keep the leak out of the public eye. “Google is right to be concerned and the shutdown of Google+ shows how disposable things really are in the face of accountability,” he said. For others, the disclosure was added proof that the large technology platforms need more regulatory control.