Google exposed data for hundreds of thousands of users

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According to the Wall Street Journal, Alphabet Inc. announced that it would cease operations for consumers after it was revealed that the social network revealed personal information for hundreds of thousands of users. And an internal memo noted that while there wasn't any evidence of misuse on behalf of developers, there wasn't a way to know for sure whether any misuse took place. The bug allowed for developers that had access to Google+'s API to access information of users that gave permission to the program.

This data is limited to static, optional Google+ Profile fields including name, email address, occupation, gender and age.

The bug was discovered in one of the Google+ application programming interfaces (APIs) when the company conducted an audit of third party developer access to Google accounts and Android data, in a project called Project Strobe. If you use the service for work, though, Google+ is not going anywhere. But those apps look downright buoyant compared with Google's own confessed numbers for Google+. "None of these thresholds were met in this instance". Also in recent weeks, Google has been strongly criticized about building a search engine that would censor information as part of a possible-entry into China.

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Only apps that directly enhance email functionality will be authorised to access consumer Gmail data, and will be subject to new rules on handling the information as well as security assessments.

The company is henceforth shutting down Google+ to consumers. The company stated in its post that there was no evidence "that any developer was aware of this bug, or. that any Profile data was misused".

Google opted not to disclose the issue partly due to fears of regulatory scrutiny, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing unnamed sources and internal documents.

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Users who connect third-party apps with Google will get more granular control over what data gets shared. Somehow, the intimate data of the first user would be included in the collection profile. By doing this, it hopes to make users of Google's apps confident that their data is secure.

Saikali said it was possible that Google could face class action lawsuits over its decision not to disclose the breach.

Google has declined to comment on why it held off reporting the breach. Now, only apps that fit a particular use case will be able to access these permissions.

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