Even the greatest, richest technology firms on the planet fail to protect our privacy with alarming regularity, as well as Google has confirmed that once again this week. As reported by 9to5Google on Monday, Google has been sending out e-mails to some users to allow them to learn about a “tech issue” that impacted its Takeout service in between November 21 and 25, 2019, that created videos in Google Photos to be “incorrectly exported to unrelated users’ archives.” To put it, an unidentified variety of private videos were sent out to strangers.
Google says that less than 0.01% of Google Photos individuals were affected by this problem, however, with over 1 billion customers, that’s still a considerable variety of individuals who could have gotten videos or had their exclusive videos sent to arbitrary unfamiliar people. In the e-mail, Google recommends that those impacted execute a new export immediately and remove their previous export, which might or may not consist of videos from other individuals:
— Jon Oberheide (@jonoberheide) February 4, 2020
“We are notifying people about a bug that may have affected users who used Google Takeout to export their Google Photos content between November 21 and November 25,” Google said in a statement to 9to5Google after the story began to spread. “These users may have received either an incomplete archive, or videos—not photos—that were not theirs. We fixed the underlying issue and have conducted an in-depth analysis to help prevent this from ever happening again. We are very sorry this happened.”
The good news is that the issue has been “identified and resolved,” but the fact that this was also possible, to begin with without any interference from a criminal outside of the firm, is truly terrifying.