Shocking! Private videos in Google Photos sent to strangers
In a major shocker, Google has admitted to inadvertently sending some people's private videos uploaded on Google Photos to complete strangers. The company is now sending out a nonchalant email informing the affected users about the breach, which it says occurred due to a 'technical error' in the 'download your data' information takeaway service it operates. Here's what went down.
Private videos sent in November 2019
According to Google, between November 21 and November 25 last year, the 'download your data' service it operates to let users take their Google apps' data offline was affected by a technical issue. The glitch affected in such a way that some content of Google Photos, videos specifically, requested through the tool went to some other individual's archive instead of the actual owner/requester.
This way, your videos might have gone to strangers
In effect, if you used the data export tool between the aforementioned dates and the package included Google Photos' content, chances are some of your video backups might have gone to a complete stranger. Also, just like that, some other individual's clip(s) might have landed in the archive you had received from Google after requesting the data.
Bug was fixed on November 25, but details remain unclear
Google's rather casual mail highlighting a clear breach of privacy from its end says that the bug was fixed on November 25 itself. However, neither the mail to affected users nor the company's official statement gives an idea about the exact number of users whose videos were leaked or the number of clips that were accidentally transferred.
0.01% users said to be affected
As per 9to5Google, the bug in question only affected the data of Google Photos (not other apps) and less than 0.01% users of the service. However, given that the platform has over 1 billion users, the number of affected people could still be considerably high.
Google apologized, requested users to delete previous exports
In the email alert, Google apologized for 'any convenience' caused by its inadvertent act of sending private/personal videos to random strangers and asked users to delete their previous exports and request fresh ones. "We fixed the underlying issue and have conducted an in-depth analysis to help prevent this from ever happening again," a company spokesperson told 9To5Google. "We are very sorry this happened."