Google+ leaked personal details, will be shut down

Google exposed user data, chose not to tell public - WSJ

But managers at the company chose not to go public with the bug, however, because they anxious that it would invite scrutiny from regulators, particularly in the wake of Facebook's recent security missteps.

The incident also marks the beginning of the end for Google+, which the company plans to shut down over the next year. The search giant states that it wasn't able to maintain "a successful Google+ product that meets consumers' expectations".

News of the bug sent shares of Google's parent company, Alphabet, down as much as 2.2 percent to $1,142.43 on Monday afternoon.

According to the Google+ Profile API documentation, profile fields can store a treasure trove of sensitive user details such as such as name, email address, occupation, gender, age, nickname, birthday, just to name a few.

For Google, a data privacy reckoning may finally come as a result of a service that it admits nearly no one uses much anymore.

Per WSJ, a "software glitch" allowed user data to be potentially exposed to unwanted eyes from 2015 all the way through March 2018 when Google learned about it.

Google has recently been at the center of a number of privacy breaches.

The Google+ data leak bug was found as part of "Project Strobe", a root-and-branch review of what data developers could access from Google accounts, and Android devices. Even in that short amount of time, Google's audit found that almost half a million Google+ accounts could have been affected in just 14 days' worth of analysis.

The Wall Street Journal reported earlier that Google opted not to disclose the security issue due to fears of regulatory scrutiny, citing unnamed sources and a memo prepared by Google's legal and policy staff for senior executives.

The tech firm kept quiet for months about a security flaw that gave third-party apps access to private information on the Google+ social network. Third-party SMS apps will still be allowed, but they can only access this data if the user sets the app as their default for text messaging.

Google has been trying to gain a foothold in social networking for years, going all the way back to the tragically flawed Google Buzz in 2010.

It also announced other security features. Somehow, the intimate data of the first user would be included in the collection profile. Google was hammered again a month later, when the Associated Press revealed the company was tracking users' locations even after they'd turned off their phones' location history setting. They'll further limit these permissions by removing contact interaction data for the Android Contacts API.

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