Oh No: Google Is Killing Google+

Google exposed personal data of almost 500,000 and didn't disclose it

Google is shutting down the consumer version of its Google+ social network following the discovery of a vulnerability that allowed app developers access to private profile information.

Late Monday, Google shuttered its Google+ social network following the disclosure that personal data for hundreds of thousands of users was potentially exposed because of a bug it kept quiet.

Google also admitted that a privacy bug back in March gave more than 400 third-party applications access to users' names, email addresses, occupations, genders and ages without authorization. Google said it hadn't found any evidence that "any developer was aware of this bug, or abusing the API, and we found no evidence that any profile data was misused".

The internal memo obtained by the Journal says that while Google has no evidence that outside developers misused, it has no way to know for sure.

The move effectively puts the final nail in the coffin of a product that was launched in 2011 to challenge Facebook Inc. and is widely seen as one of Google's biggest failures.

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

Google today also revealed some more steps that it's taking to help protect user data.

In addition to "sunsetting consumer Google+", the company is making changes to APIs on its other services, which will limit the amount of access developers get to data on Android and Gmail.

Webroot senior threat research analyst Tyler Moffitt says, "Although it seems that Google has shut down an entire line of business due to this breach, from a GDPR perspective, the company appears to have gotten off lightly". So a group of the company's executives ruled that the firm should stay quiet about the flaw, and reportedly informed Sundar Pichai, Google's CEO, of their decision. "It's that Google's execs knowingly avoided disclosing an issue because they knew it'd invite gov scrutiny & bad PR". 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. The major reason why Google developed this social media platform was to compete with the exponentially growing social-media platform Facebook.

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