She gone: Google+ network closes indefinitely after security breach

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.

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.

According to Smith, "This data is limited to static, optional Google+ Profile fields including name, email address, occupation, gender and age".

While Google says there is no clear misuse of profile data that occurred as a result of this breach, MacMillan of the Journal says it raises questions about the company's commitment to user privacy.

Google+ was heavily promoted after its 2011 launch, in the hope of overtaking Facebook in the early days of social media.

The issue apparently came about when a user granted permission to an app, allowing it to access their public data.

A Google spokesperson cited "significant challenges in creating and maintaining a successful Google+ that meets consumers" expectations" along with "very low usage' as the reasons for the move. Google says Google+ for consumers will wind down over a 10-month period, which would be complete by the end of next August.

Following this incident, the software giant has now decided that it will shut down Google+ operations for the consumers, however, it will remain as a product for enterprise users.

Sunder Pichai, the Indian-American CEO of Google, was briefed on the plan to not notify users after an internal committee had reached that decision, The Wall Street said quoting unnamed sources.

Google is now shuttering Google+ as a delayed response. "By giving developers more explicit rules of the road, and helping users control your data, we can ensure that we keep doing just that", reads the blog. If you're given the option to upgrade instead of downgrade, you do not have a Google+ page associated with the account you're signed in under. By default, Google+ users can grant access to their profile data to third-party apps.

Smith, however, announced that Google Plus will not be shut down immediately.

A major security bug appears to also be to blame for the Google+ shutdown.

Vanessa Coleman

Comments