Google concealed a data breach – now the data protection officer ascertains

The online network Google Plus has been around for years
Data leak: Since 2015 app developers have been able to access some private user data without permission. The Internet giant discovered
and closed the gap only in March 2018 – but concealed this initially.

is the Google Plus launched in 2011 as a rival to Facebook
Consumers shut down. In addition, the possibilities are generally
restricted by app developers to user data on smartphones
to access the Google system Android.

The software mishap would have app developers on the name, the
E-mail address as well as information about employment, gender and
Age of users can access, Google admitted on Monday. Around
other data do not work. At the same time, Google can make the circle of
Do not narrow down affected users. The mistake is in March
Discovered in 2018 and rectified immediately, they said.

More on the topic: With Google+ is soon over

Google and the DSGVO

Although Google has no evidence of data misuse, but also not enough information to completely exclude him, quoted the “Wall Street Journal“from internal documents.” In March the group decided not to inform the public about the discovery.


One factor has been the fear of regulatory scrutiny – which Google may now be certain of. In the EU, the Basic Data Protection Regulation, which came into force at the end of May, strictly stipulates that data subjects are to be informed.

The Hamburg data protection officer Johannes Caspar has therefore now investigations to the year-long data leak in the online network
Google Plus initiated. “Apparently, Google deliberately concealed the incident, so grass on the matter grows,” said Caspar the German Press Agency on Tuesday.

“Central question will be when
the gap was closed by Google, “said the privacy advocates
with regard to the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which has been in existence since
25 May attacks and high penalties for violations envisages.

Have Google the error as announced on Monday in March
cleared out, applies the old law of the Federal Data Protection Act. “This sets high information hurdles and only attacks
in the event that particularly sensitive data is affected by the gap
were, “explained Caspar.

Even his authority has the data leak
learned from the media. Ultimately, obfuscating the
Tätergangs and the timing of the possibilities, content and
To clarify the extent of the violation, “criticized the data protection officer.

Potentially, profiles of up to 500,000 accounts could be affected by Google Plus, the Internet company said, referring to an analysis of the data from two weeks in March. However, the group could not provide any further information because usage logs would only be stored for two weeks. Up to 438 apps could have accessed the interface with the data gap, it said.

Google wants to better protect Android users

Google Plus is currently being used by consumers little – and 90 percent of the interactions lasted less than five seconds, the company said. The cessation of the consumer version should be completed after a ten-month transitional period at the end of August next year.

Thus, Google officially admits the already clear defeat in the competition of online networks with Facebook. Google Plus will continue to be used for internal corporate communications.

Greater consumer impact is likely to be reflected in the changes to the Android mobile operating system, which runs on devices of hundreds of millions of people. Users will be able to more accurately determine what data they want to share with an app, Google announced. Basically, fewer apps would get access to call lists and SMS data.

In addition, the access of app developers to the emails in Google’s GMail service will be more limited. The “Wall Street Journal“had reported in the summer, app developers used in part e-mails from users to train algorithms for automatic responses, for example, which had provided criticism, but was covered by the terms of use after representation of the parties.

Google does not want a comparison with Cambridge Analytica

The “Wall Street JournalAccording to Google’s lawyers, after the discovery of the vulnerability, Google’s lawyers pointed out that disclosure would likely spark “immediate interest from regulators” and comparisons with Cambridge Analytica’s Facebook data scandal, with an internal body having decided not to publicly go, Google boss Sundar Pichai had been informed.

A Google spokesman told the newspaper, crucial in making such decisions, among other things, whether there is evidence of abuse and whether you can identify affected users.

App developer interfaces had also played a key role in Cambridge Analytica’s Facebook data scandal that broke out in mid-March. The online network allowed app developers to access data from friends of a user by 2015 as well.

The developer of a survey app collected the data from participants in a survey and their friends – and then passed them on to the data analysis company Cambridge Analytica without authorization. Although Facebook already heard about it in 2016, it was satisfied with the assurance that all data had been deleted and did not inform those affected. This approach caused massive criticism.

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