Not that anyone ever really used it anyway, but social networking site Google Plus is officially going the way of the dodo bird after it was revealed that private data on hundreds of thousands of users was leaked due to a “bug.”
According to reports, a “vulnerability” was discovered during one of Google’s “Project Strobe” assessments, which uncovered that as many as 500,000 Google Plus users had their names, email addresses, occupations, genders, and ages made public without their consent.
Ben Smith, Google’s vice president for engineering, explained in a recent blog post that the leaked information was “limited” in scope, which is why Google decided not to even bother informing the users who had their data leaked as part of the breach.
However, because Congress has been nudging ever so gradually towards actually addressing the problem of internet privacy infractions, Google is now quietly making it known that, oops!, they didn’t do a very good job of keeping Google Plus users protected.
According to Smith, the “bug” was patched back in March, and since nothing at the time suggested that anyone malicious had access the data or misused it in any way, Google should apparently be praised for doing such a great service for its users.
“Whenever user data may have been affected, we go beyond our legal requirements and apply several criteria focused on our users in determining whether to provide notice,” Smith wrote in his blog post.
Google privacy unit allegedly “reviewed this issue, looking at the type of data involved, whether we could accurately identify the users to inform, whether there was any evidence of misuse, and whether there were any actions a developer or user could take in response. None of these thresholds were met,” claims Smith.
Former Obama official says all these data breaches raise “the profile of possible legislation”
Google certainly isn’t alone in hiding these egregious data breaches from its users. Credit bureau Equifax had to face the ire of Congress last year after it was disclosed that the company sat on a major data breach for many months before finally revealing that personal identification data on 145 million people, nearly half of the U.S. population, had been stolen by hackers.
Facebook was similarly reluctant in disclosing a more recent security breach that exposed data on more than 50 million users to “advanced” hackers. Keep in mind that these are just the data breaches we know about. There could be many more taking place that the public isn’t even being told about as the tech cabal aims to thwart justice and save face.
It’s a dire situation that, according to Justin Antonipellai, founder of the data protection firm WireWheel and acting undersecretary for economic affairs in the Obama administration’s Commerce Department, raises “the profile of possible legislation.”
In other words, more needs to be done at the governmental level to hold the tech cabal accountable for failing to protect the private data of its users. Big Tech similarly needs to be held accountable for its active censorship of user content, which is technically illegal since these multinational corporations operate as public utilities rather than content publishers – and they’re not allowed, under the law, to operate as both.
Adam Levin, founder of the identity protection firm CyberScout and former director of the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs, recently told The Washington Examiner that data breaches have become so commonplace that the only inevitable outcome is that they “will be held more and more to account” for their repeated failures to keep private user information safe.
For more news about the dangers of “living” online in the age of Big Tech monopoly control, check out CyberWar.news.
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