Google To Shut Down Google+ Following Security Lapse 10/09/2018

Google has its European headquarters in Dublin

Alphabet's Google said on Monday up to 500,000 Google+ user accounts were potentially affected by a bug that may have exposed their data to external developers, and the company is shutting down the social network for consumers.

The cover up: According to a report in The Wall Street Journal, Google discovered a bug in Google+ code in March and promptly fixed it, but decided not to reveal its existence.

The breach reportedly gave outside developers access to users' full names, email addresses, birth dates, places lived and occupations, among other things. 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".

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.

Google+ launched in 2011 as the advertising giant grew more concerned about competition from Facebook, which could pinpoint ads to users based on data they had shared about their friends, likes and online activity.

The company also debuted a number of new privacy controls, including limiting the apps that can access Gmail, call log, and text messaging data.

Earlier on Tuesday, Ireland's data protection regulator said it would seek more information from Google regarding the breach.

Google says it fixed the issue as soon as it was discovered, but the awful part of this all is that Google opted not to disclose the breach to users, instead sweeping the situation under the rug, hoping nobody would notice.

Facebook was dealing with the Cambridge Analytica scandal during this time and Google was afraid to be caught in a similar scandal.

A major security bug appears to also be to blame for the Google+ shutdown. "None of these thresholds were met in this instance", said Google.

"What's most concerning here is that Google did not feel the need to disclose the breach, and today's privacy laws don't require it", Theresa Payton, a former Chief Information Officer at the White House and Chief Executive of security firm Fortalice, tells Barron's. But people absolutely do not agree to whatever arrangements those companies make with outside parties to pass along personal information or data.

The revelation is likely to heighten the stakes of his coming appearance to testify before Congress, amid allegations that technology companies are squelching conservative voices online. Google+ posts, messages, Google account data, phone numbers, or G Suite content were not accessible.

The announcement came in a Monday blog post that marked Google's first public description of the privacy bug.

No matter how much you use social media, you probably haven't used Google+ very often, if at all.

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