Google+ Exposes Another 52 Million Users as CEO Faces Congress

Google+ will be shut down even earlier than previously announced, as news of yet another data breach is revealed.
Jessica Miley

Google+, has experienced yet another data breach. The failed social media platform will now be shut down in April 2019, rather than August as planned.

In October this year, Google admitted that a security issue had potentially impacted approximately half million Google+ users. The company announced they would shut the service in August 2019.

No evidence on malicious use of data

However, the latest breach that potentially provides the personal details of over 50 million users to Google+ developers, regardless of the privacy status of their accounts.

In the wake of the breach, Google says it will hurry to close the service which it aims to do by April next year.

The Google+ API will cease to functioning within 90 days.

"With the discovery of this new bug, we have decided to expedite the shutdown of all Google+ APIs [application programming interfaces]; this will occur within the next 90 days," wrote David Thacker, head of product management for G Suite, Google's range of apps offered to businesses.

"In addition, we have also decided to accelerate the sun-setting of consumer Google+ from August 2019 to April 2019."

"While we recognize there are implications for developers, we want to ensure the protection of our users," he continued.

Google is quick to point out that depict the breach affecting a huge number of users, they have no evidence that the data has been accessed with malicious intent or that the data has been misused in any way.

The hole has now been patched so any stray Google+ fans can use the service in peace until April. Google+ has long been the source of derision among internet users and the tech community for its absolute failure.

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Google to face Congress over data collection 

Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai will face Congress today over Google’s handling of user data and its development of a search engine that would comply with China’s strict internet censors.

The hearing on “Transparency & Accountability: Examining Google and its Data Collection, Use, and Filtering Practices” will convene before the House Judiciary Committee at 7 am PT on December 11.

Lawmakers in Washington have been considering changing regulations that could impact the way Google operates its online ad business. A branch of the company that makes more than 100 billion USD a year.

Expansion into China under scrutiny

Recent meetings in Washington have discussed the need for tighter control over the collection of online data.

State attorneys have initiated the hearings to learn more about possible political bias in Google's search engines, and the company's plans to expand into China.

Sundar Pichai released a prepared statement ahead of the hearing today that stressed the company's all-American roots and the impact it has on the national economy.

“Today in the US, we’re growing faster outside of the Bay Area than within it.

I’ve had the opportunity to travel across the country and see all the places that are powering our digital economy—from Clarksville to Pittsburgh, to San Diego, where we recently launched a partnership with the USO to help veterans and military families.

Along the way, I’ve met many people who depend on Google to learn new skills, find jobs, or build new businesses.

Over the past year, we have supported more than 1.5 million American businesses.

Over the past three, we have made direct contributions of $150 billion to the US economy, added more than 24,000 employees, and paid over $43 billion to US partners across Search, YouTube, and Android.

These investments strengthen our communities and support thousands of American jobs,” Pichai wrote.

The hearings can be watched live here.

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