API Puts at Risk Privacy of over 52 Million Users

API Puts at Risk Privacy of over 52 Million Users

API Puts at Risk Privacy of over 52 Million Users

In October, Google made a decision to close Google+ to the public after finding data on 500,000 of its users had been exposed. The personal information that was exposed was from people's Google+ profiles, including names, ages and occupations. Google signed a consent decree with the FTC in 2011 to settle allegations that an earlier social media platform, Google Buzz, mishandled user data. Two months after saying it would shutter its faltering network after a security glitch potentially exposed personal information on up to 500,000 customers, the technology behemoth is moving up the closure date. The latest security issue has now sped up that timeline, with plans to kill the consumer version of Google+ for good in April.

The error related to the social network's Application Programmer Interface (API), a tool that allows app developers to extract information so that they can integrate their apps with Google's services.

"In addition, we have also chose to accelerate the sun-setting of consumer Google+ from August 2019 to April 2019". The company will begin notifying affected users but insisted no financial data, passwords or national identification numbers were left vulnerable.

Google said in a statement that the data was exposed for six days after being discovered during ongoing testing procedures but that there was no third party compromise of systems, and there was no evidence that the app developers were aware of the bug or misused it in any way. During the time the bug was active, developers of apps that requested permission to view profile information that a user had added to their Google+ profile received permission to view profile information about that user even when the details were set to not-public. All of the Google+ APIs will be shuttered in the next 90 days, while the site itself will close in April 2019. "We have always taken this seriously, and we continue to invest in our privacy programs to refine internal privacy review processes, create powerful data controls, and engage with users, researchers, and policymakers to get their feedback and improve our programs".

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