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posted by martyb on Tuesday October 09 2018, @05:23AM   Printer-friendly
from the how-many-projects-have-they-shuttered? dept.

Google+ shutting down after users' data is exposed

Google is shutting down much of its social network, Google+, after user data was left exposed. It said a bug in its software meant information that people believed was private had been accessible by third parties. Google said up to 500,000 users had been affected.

According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, the company knew about the issue in March but did not disclose it. The WSJ quoted an internal Google memo that said doing so would draw "immediate regulatory interest".

In a statement, the firm said the issue was not serious enough to inform the public. "Our Privacy and Data Protection Office 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 here."

Also at The Verge, Engadget, and CNBC.


Original Submission

Related Stories

Internet Archive Moving to Preserve Google+ Posts before April Shutdown 8 comments

The Internet Archive is working to preserve public Google+ posts before it shuts down

Google is set to begin deleting data from its beleaguered social network, Google+ in April, but before that happens, the Internet Archive and the ArchiveTeam say that they are working to preserve public posts on the platform before they vanish forever.

In a post on Reddit, the sites announced that they had begun their efforts to archive the posts using scripts to capture and back up the data in an effort to preserve it. The teams say that their efforts will only encompass posts that are currently available to the public: they won't be able to back up posts that are marked private or deleted. They also urge people who don't want their content to be archived to delete their accounts, and pointed to a procedure to request the removal of specific content. They also note that they won't be able to capture everything: comment threads have a limit of 500 comments, "but only presents a subset of these as static HTML. It's not clear that long discussion threads will be preserved." They also say that images and video won't be preserved at full resolution.

Related: Google+ Shut Down After Data Breach and Cover-Up are Exposed
Senators Demand Answers About Google+ Breach; Project Dragonfly Undermines Google's Neutrality
Google+ Bug Exposes Non-Public Profile Data for 52 Million Users
Death of Google+ Causing Angst


Original Submission

Politics: Senators Demand Answers About Google+ Breach; Project Dragonfly Undermines Google's Neutrality 12 comments

Republican Senators Demand Answers about Google+ Cover-up

Senators Thune, Wicker, and Moran Letter to Google

takyon: Three Senators have written a letter to Google CEO Sundar Pichai requesting responses to several questions about the recent Google+ breach.

Also at Reuters, Ars Technica, and The Verge.

How Google's China Project Undermines its Claims to Political Neutrality

Submitted via IRC for chromas

How Google's China project undermines its claims to political neutrality

The company's official position on content moderation remains political neutrality, a spokeswoman told me in an email:

Google is committed to free expression — supporting the free flow of ideas is core to our mission. Where we have developed our own content policies, we enforce them in a politically neutral way. Giving preference to content of one political ideology over another would fundamentally conflict with our goal of providing services that work for everyone.

Of course, it's impossible to read the report or Google's statement without considering Project Dragonfly. According to Ryan Gallagher's ongoing reporting at The Intercept, Google's planned Chinese search engine will enable anything but the free flow of ideas. Even in an environment where American users are calling for tech platforms to limit users' freedoms in exchange for more safety and security, many still recoil at the idea of a search engine that bans search terms in support of an authoritarian regime.

And that's the unresolvable tension at the heart of this report. Almost all of us would agree that some restrictions on free speech are necessary. But few of us would agree on what those restrictions should be. Being a good censor — or at least, a more consistent censor — is within Google's grasp. But being a politically neutral one is probably impossible.

See also: Senator Says Google Failed to Answer Key Questions on China

Related: Leaked Transcript Contradicts Google's Denials About Censored Chinese Search Engine


Original Submission #1Original Submission #2Original Submission #3

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  • (Score: 2, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 09 2018, @05:33AM (2 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 09 2018, @05:33AM (#746299)

    Google failure. "Extremely low use rate" seems to be the language I have heard elsewhere. Most sessions lasting for ~5 seconds. Off to the trash heap of other abandoned Google projects.

    • (Score: 3, Touché) by coolgopher on Tuesday October 09 2018, @06:10AM (1 child)

      by coolgopher (1157) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday October 09 2018, @06:10AM (#746308)

      Hah, you'd be lucky if a google+ page had even finished loading in those 5 seconds!

      • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 09 2018, @12:49PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 09 2018, @12:49PM (#746410)

        In particular after the "material design" rework, with its constantly expanding and collapsing posts...

  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 09 2018, @05:59AM (2 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 09 2018, @05:59AM (#746304)

    The real failure is that Google cannot be trusted with anything of importance, and people who have followed Google's behavior pattern of abandoning projects know this is true.
    -

    So the REAL failure is the loss of credibility -- Google is as trustworthy as a crack whore.

    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Freeman on Tuesday October 09 2018, @04:34PM

      by Freeman (732) on Tuesday October 09 2018, @04:34PM (#746490) Journal

      I dunno, seems like they've had pretty stable google mail and google search services.

      --
      Joshua 1:9 "Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee"
    • (Score: 2) by Dr Spin on Tuesday October 09 2018, @09:05PM

      by Dr Spin (5239) on Tuesday October 09 2018, @09:05PM (#746619)

      But the corresponding success is that the EU will not have any budget deficit in the foreseable future.

      --
      Warning: Opening your mouth may invalidate your brain!
  • (Score: 2, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 09 2018, @06:11AM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 09 2018, @06:11AM (#746309)

    Maybe Facebook can go next?

    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by FatPhil on Wednesday October 10 2018, @08:51AM

      by FatPhil (863) <pc-soylentNO@SPAMasdf.fi> on Wednesday October 10 2018, @08:51AM (#746875) Homepage
      Well, the social networks that I remember failing are Buzz, Orkut, and Google+. All three of those were under Google's wings. Clearly google themselves are doing something wrong in this field. And if you consider how much data-mining they do, they basically know everything about everything you do in front of a computer (which includes phones), that does perhaps contain a small silver lining - perhaps all this "big data" isn't as useful as they think it is.
      --
      Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people; the smallest discuss themselves
  • (Score: 2) by canopic jug on Tuesday October 09 2018, @06:14AM (2 children)

    by canopic jug (3949) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday October 09 2018, @06:14AM (#746310) Journal

    Google executive Ben Smith has issued a press release or sorts about the first four findings from Project Strobe [www.blog.google], the audit of many of its services. He also wrote about Google's initial responses to these findings. I'll paraphrase the findings: First, Google+ did not gain enough traction for their liking so they'll pull the plug. Second, the public wants more fine-grained control over data leakage from Google's services. Third, Gmail is tied to various services and the public expects that to stay limited. Fourth, same expectations for Android phone permissions like SMS and contacts.

    --
    Money is not free speech. Elections should not be auctions.
    • (Score: 2) by Arik on Tuesday October 09 2018, @06:35AM

      by Arik (4543) on Tuesday October 09 2018, @06:35AM (#746312) Journal
      So it's mixed news then - the general public is insane - but not nearly so insane as alphabet soup would like them to be.

      --
      If laughter is the best medicine, who are the best doctors?
    • (Score: 5, Touché) by maxwell demon on Tuesday October 09 2018, @08:13AM

      by maxwell demon (1608) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday October 09 2018, @08:13AM (#746329) Journal

      Second, the public wants more fine-grained control over data leakage from Google's services.

      Really? I suspect the vast majority would be happy with a single course-grained option: No data leakage at all. Well, actually it doesn't need to be an option; make it mandatory.

      --
      The Tao of math: The numbers you can count are not the real numbers.
  • (Score: 2) by stretch611 on Tuesday October 09 2018, @08:25AM (2 children)

    by stretch611 (6199) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday October 09 2018, @08:25AM (#746332)

    an internal Google memo that said doing so would draw "immediate regulatory interest"

    This is just more proof that the motto of old [time.com] is truly ignored.

    --
    Now with 5 covid vaccine shots/boosters altering my DNA :P
    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Spamalope on Tuesday October 09 2018, @11:12AM (1 child)

      by Spamalope (5233) on Tuesday October 09 2018, @11:12AM (#746372) Homepage

      "whether we could accurately identify the users to inform" - the compromise was complete, and we don't have logs indicating who was compromised or how much was taken, and we're using that as an excuse to not inform the victims at all because they'd have to admit the scope.

      "whether there was any evidence of misuse" - you can't prove criminal activity with the information is directly attributable to this breach (in part because we don't even know what was taken), so we're interpreting that as no harm. *fingers in ears* singing la la la I can't hear you

      "whether there were any actions a developer or user could take in response" The horse already left the barn and we don't have political cover

      "looking at the type of data involved" it wasn't data our direct commercial competitors can use

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 09 2018, @12:58PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 09 2018, @12:58PM (#746414)

        So they don't know who may have been affected by this, but they were able to determine that they would not suffer any competative losses.

        "We're not sure who this hurt but we know it wasn't us!"

  • (Score: 2) by DavePolaschek on Tuesday October 09 2018, @01:50PM (1 child)

    by DavePolaschek (6129) on Tuesday October 09 2018, @01:50PM (#746435) Homepage Journal

    Subject-line snark stolen from https://www.flutterby.com/archives/comments/25474.html [flutterby.com]

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 09 2018, @02:49PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 09 2018, @02:49PM (#746451)

      Didn't they force everybody on YouTube to get a google plus account?

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 09 2018, @05:35PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 09 2018, @05:35PM (#746517)

    I was waiting and waiting for an integration of Google Photos with Google+ . That never happened which indicates Google+ has been on death row for years.

  • (Score: 2) by hendrikboom on Wednesday October 10 2018, @07:15PM

    by hendrikboom (1125) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday October 10 2018, @07:15PM (#747090) Homepage Journal

    I will miss Google+. One of the few so-called social networks where the signal-to-noise ratio was useful.

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