A bug in Google+ exposed the data of hundreds of thousands. Google covered it up.
A bug in Google+ exposed the data of hundreds of thousands. Google covered it up.

Image: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

A bug in Google+ exposed the personal data of nearly 500,000 people and Google chose not to disclose it out of fears of regulatory pressure. 

That’s the stunning revelation in a new report in The Wall Street Journal.

The bug, which went undiscovered from 2015 until March of this year, according to The WSJ, allowed developers to access personal data from the connections of people who had installed their app, even if those people didn’t give permission for their information to be accessed.

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Upon discovering the bug, Google patched it, but opted not to disclose it to the public out of fear of regulatory pressure and unfavorable comparisons to Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica debacle.

Writing in a blog post Monday, Google attempted to downplay the incident, saying it hasn’t found any signs that the bug was exploited. 

“Our Privacy & 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 in this instance,” the company said. 

The incident marks the beginning of the end for Google+, which the company plans to shut down over the next year.

This story is developing..

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