Google is closing the Google+ social network after an error exposed the private data of hundreds of thousands of users last spring, in an incident which the company never disclosed to those affected.
While no evidence was found that indicates this bug was ever misused, it was determined that the complexity of protecting and operating a social network like Google+ was not a worthwhile endeavor when so few users actually used the service for any length of time. When those friends signed into apps using Google+, app developers ask for permission to get profile information and are granted.
This tech giant has now come up with a number of plans as data privacy measures.
This issue has existed 2015 until Google found out about it in March 2018 and made a decision to fix it. Google then had a choice to inform its users but chose not to because it wasn't legally required to and secondly, because it would draw regulatory attention towards itself.
The review found no misuse of the data and the problem was fixed in March, but the company's privacy and data protection office said the vulnerability didn't meet the threshold of security issues to notify users of the data breach.
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In a blog post, the company admitted Google+ had failed to achieve "broad consumer or developer adoption" since it launched as a would-be Facebook rival in 2011. (An earlier WSJ piece described how some Gmail apps were allowing employees to read users' emails and sell the data to marketers.) The changes apply to new Gmail apps immediately, and to existing ones early next year.
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. Instead of reporting this to subscribers of the service, Google chose to just let it slide so that it wouldn't be subject to investigation by regulatory agencies. In addition, Google Account permissions dialog boxes will be split to show each requested permission, one at a time, within its own dialog box.
"Only apps directly enhancing email functionality - such as email clients, email backup services and productivity services (e.g., CRM and mail merge services) - will be authorised to access this data", Smith added.