News that Google+ will more-or-less cease operations following the exposure of a security weakness isn’t something to hold the front page for. The unpopularity of the failed social media site was the internet’s favorite joke. Remember starting an account circa 2011/2012, logging in once or twice then never using it again? Yeah. Me too. We were too busy giving Facebook our data back then to post on Google+ as well. Anyway, data breach stories are boring. Every day, another hack. Yawn.
The bug was pretty rubbish in data breech terms. It was discovered that outside software developers could gain access to personal information of users; names, email addresses, gender, ages, occupations and relationship status. In a blog post on Monday, Google said more private information like phone numbers and social media posts were never at risk. It also claimed to have no evidence of the data being misused.
But to learn that Google, the company with the God complex, chose to patch a bug which could have compromised 500,000 accounts without telling the authorities or users is a shocking display of arrogance, even for this megalomaniac monster.
What’s even more blood-boiling is an inside memo to Google senior executives warning that disclosing the problem would invite regulatory scrutiny and that Sundar Pichai, Google’s chief executive, would most likely be called to testify in front of Congress. Basically, Google didn’t announce the bug because it feared a stain on its soiled reputation, and it feared the law. You know that big book of things the rest of us live so the world doesn’t slip into chaos and anarchy? Turns out Google thinks it is above that.
The Wall Street Journal broke the story on Monday then Google decided to disclose the weakness. It had planned to disclose it later this week anyway, apparently, but the date was moved a few days forward because of the WSJ article. Course Google was going to announce it this week. The bug had been there since 2015 and was discovered and patched over six months ago. Users’ content was exposed for three goddamn years. This week is the logical and expected time to let people know about that. What kind of crazy person would think of doing it a day sooner?
We learn and re-learn almost on a daily basis how Google, Facebook, Amazon, et al cannot be trusted with user privacy. They are devious in their collection of users’ personal data and reckless in what they do with it. This has to stop. We cannot live in a world where Google knows more citizen that the Stasi ever did.
If you’ve had enough waiting for the law to start protecting your data, start doing it yourself. Get rid of Facebook, Browse in private with a good secure browser like Firefox, browse the net with a tool that doesn’t double up as a surveillance device such as DuckDuckGo, encrypt your data and communications with the free app get2Clouds. Download for iOS, Android or here for Windows.