Alphabet has announced they will shut down the consumer version of Google+ after data from 500,000 users were exposed to developers. The bug had been going on for more than two years before the company discovered it. Google announced on Monday on a blog post that it had found and fixed the leak in March of 2018 and had no findings of any misuse of personal information by the developers. Alphabet was down 1.5% at $1150.75 a share after this happened. What company is next in this horrible privacy "hack"?
Google said a software glitch in the site gave developers access to private users' data during a major redesign in 2015. However, the affected data only included optional profile fields including name, email, occupation, gender, and age.
According to Reuters, The European Union's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), states that a company has to inform a "supervisory authority" within 72 hours if personal data is found to be exposed unless the breach is unlikely to be misused. According to Reuters, Geoffrey Parker, an engineering professor at Dartmouth College, told Yahoo Finance: "It seems like the downside risk of having a story that says they intentionally hid information about a major breach from users is bigger than the upside of avoiding scrutiny. I wonder if there wasn’t more depth to the internal debate."
Google CEO Sundar Pichai was told not to notify users if their information was exposed after an internal committee discussed. Google has been under fire recently after refusing to send top executives to a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing to counteract foreign influences in U.S politics. Facebook's and Twitter's officers were present at that hearing, but an empty seat (left for Google executives) was also current after Google refused to send a representative. According to Reuters, Ivan Feinseth, an analyst at Tigress Financial Partners, said, "I think Google does have a public relationship issue and this now makes their lack of openness even worse."