Google+ to shut down after security bug

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

According to a report in the Wall Street Journal published Monday lunchtime, a software glitch within Google+ exposed the private profile data of hundreds of thousands of Google+ users to outside developers. In turn, this meant that nearly 500,000 users' names, email addresses, dates of birth, gender, location, occupation, and relationship status were made available to developers, all without their knowledge. But a two-week-long review of Google+ found that up to 500,000 users may have had their data exposed to developers of 438 applications. Others include limiting what sorts of data that can be collected per transaction when users share their Gmail accounts and phone numbers.

Google has now decided that the incident shows Google+ APIs and associated controls are too challenging to develop and maintain, so it will shutter the social network over a ten-month period. However, the announcement came moments after The Wall Street Journal reported Google had opted not to disclose a bug affecting Google+ users at least in part to avoid additional regulatory scrutiny.

Google found and patched the hole this March and an engineering team had briefed CEO Sundar Pichai on the issue along with its prposed intention to not disclose the vulnerability for fear of government investigation and loss of public trust.

The company says it didn't find any evidence that any of the affected personal information was misused. Apps also won't be allowed to sell the data for marketing or ad targeting, and any human review of email data will be "strictly limited".

3 scientists share 2018 Nobel Prize in Chemistry
This, said Claes Gustafsson , chair of Nobel Chemistry Committee, was applying the " principles of Darwin in the test tube". He said he learned of the prize in a pre-dawn phone call from Stockholm . "That was certainly the case with my work".

Google claims there was no evidence of misuse of the data. However, it's possible that data were abused and Google just doesn't know about it yet.

Today, after over 7 years of existence, Google is shutting down Google+ for good-although its low user base surprisingly wasn't the main factor behind this decision.

"We have many enterprise customers who are finding great value in using Google+ within their companies", the internet firm said.

The bug meant that apps also had access to Profile fields that were shared with the user, but not marked as public. Google also says that it's limiting apps' ability to get your Call Log and SMS permissions on Android devices, allowing only an app that you've selected as your default calling and texting app to make these requests.

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