Google to shut down Google Plus after user information exposed

Google to shut down Google Plus after user information exposed

Google to shut down Google Plus after user information exposed

Ireland's data protection regulator said on Tuesday that it would seek more information from Alphabet Inc's Google (GOOGL.O) regarding a security issue that may have exposed the data of at least 500,000 users to hundreds of external developers.

The breach reportedly gave outside developers access to users' full names, email addresses, birth dates, places lived and occupations, among other things. The company noted that information like Google+ posts, messages and G Suite content weren't included in the exposure.

The closure isn't because people are happier using Facebook and Twitter instead of Google's service.

This tech giant has now come up with a number of plans as data privacy measures.

Google chose not to disclose this information out of fear of regulatory pressure and bad PR, The Journal reports. "None of these thresholds were met in this instance", the company said.

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".

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In response to the breach, Google is shutting down all consumer functionality of Google+. In addition, 438 third-party applications may have used the application programming interface, or API, that allowed possible access to the data, according to Google. According to a report published Monday by The Wall Street Journal, the vulnerability wasn't disclosed because Google didn't want to be subjected to regulatory scrutiny from lawmakers.

"The consumer version of Google+ now has low usage and engagement: 90 percent of Google user sessions are less than five seconds", the company said. (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.

Now, users will be given greater control over what account data they choose to share with each app.

Call logs and SMS permissions will no longer be sent to developers, while contact interaction data won't be accessible via the Android Contacts API.

Google has thus far been able to defer much of the criticism to Facebook and Twitter, but the Google+ bug may thrust it further into the spotlight.

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