Google+ to bite the dust even earlier after major data loss


Radu Tyrsina
by Radu Tyrsina
Founder & Editor-in-Chief
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Google+

Google has decided to shut down Google+ even earlier, due to a loss of data that has affected an astonishing 52 million users. Even by the standards of disinterested shown by most tech companies, the ease with which Google has allowed user data to be pinched is shocking.

Let’s look at the backstory

The story started back in Oct 8th, 2018, when it was discovered that a bug in Google’s development platform allowed access, through Google+, to people’s personal information such as:

  • name
  • email address
  • occupation
  • gender
  • age

I know. Let’s ignore the regulations

Of course, one of the major problems with the loss of data was not the loss of data. It was that Google had decided that the best thing to do in that situation was to keep mum.

Apparently, Google had discovered the problem with API back in March, but didn’t report it for er… fear of getting into trouble. Google did this knowing it was in clear violation of various laws including GDPR. Of course, Google then issued a statement saying blah blah blah, but the fact that it had chosen to ignore laws, thus putting itself above users, should have told us what could be in store.

We should give some credit to Google here. Before this cock-up, Google had managed to avoid any of the major data breaches that other tech companies had found themselves embroiled in.

So, with some deft handling, this should have been resolved with a bit of good PR, and a huge fine paid to the EU for being Google. Sorry, I mean for not reporting the data breach.


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Alas, that was not to be

Just two months later and Google+ has found itself on the receiving end of a massive data breach. This one involves over 50 million users. But the amazing thing about this is that it is from an API bug. Sound familiar?

What is even more amazing, and maybe this is just me, is that if you choose to not share you personal information on a social media platform, then I would have thought that your information should be encrypted. That is not the case, so even if most of those 52 million+ users had decided to keep their info private, that’s gone completely down the pan.

And that is why, in a nutshell, Google+ will be no more in April 2019. And let’s be honest. Nobody is going to be inconsolable over this news. It was pretty rubbish and lasted a lot longer than most people thought it would.

Wrapping it all up

Don’t worry. I haven’t forgotten my rant.

The problem here is that Google chose to ignore the laws, and regulators seem to have ignored Google ignoring the laws. This has meant that Google has gone on to a bigger screw up because tech companies are like children. Not surprising, since most of them seem to be run by children.

The EU and US government should have slapped Google with such a massive fine that it would have made sure that the data breach wouldn’t have reoccurred. The EU and US govt. didn’t, and the result is what we are seeing now.

Pity I’m not in charge. If I were, Britain would be making so much money from tech fines that Brexit wouldn’t have even been considered.

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