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Google Leak Exposes Several Privacy And Security Loopholes

Team Gossip  |   Jun 4, 5:33 AM   |   6 min read

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Highlights

  • A leaked copy of Google’s internal database has exposed six years' worth of security and privacy concerns that were reported internally by the employees.

  • The report reportedly comprises thousands of incidents that include Google services like YouTube, Street View, and more.

  • These concerns deal with Google’s several products, data-collecting practices, third-party issues, and mistakes made by the staff.

A leaked copy of Google’s internal database has exposed six years' worth of security and privacy concerns that were reported internally by the employees. The report reportedly comprises thousands of incidents that include Google services like YouTube, Street View, and more.

 

According to 404 Media, who claims to have obtained a copy of an internal Google database that accounts for six years of issues. These concerns deal with Google’s several products, data-collecting practices, third-party issues, and mistakes made by the staff.

 

It’s imperative to note that the incidents occurred between six to nine years ago. When reporting an incident, the staff are required to provide an initial severity and priority to the incident — P0 being the highest and P1 being below that — before the investigation takes place. As a result, some of the incidents that were reported didn’t match the ratings. These incidents were also said to be reviewed and resolved at the time.

 

Also Read: Indian Govt To Set Spending Limit On Online Gaming To Curb Addiction

 

Is Information Regarding These Incidents Being Purged?

 

One of the incidents in the report concerns an issue in 2016 where the company’s service Street View tech was transcribing and storing license plate numbers. When the issue was found, an employee explained that it was due to an issue with the algorithm meant to detect text.

 

“Unfortunately, the contents of license plates are also text and, apparently, have been transcribed in many cases. As a result, our database of objects detected from Street View now inadvertently contains a database of geolocated license plate numbers and license plate number fragments. I want to emphasize that this was an accident. The system that transcribes these pieces of text should have been avoiding imagery identified by our license plate detectors but, for reasons as yet unknown, was not.”

 

This information is said to have been purged. Another incident had more than one million email addresses connected to Socratic.org, an app that leverages AI to help students complete their homework. Sometime after it was taken over by Google, these addresses were viewable on the page source of the website.

 

Also Read: Google Wants To Turn Smartphones Into Skin Cancer Detectors

 

Were IP Addresses And Geolation Data Compromised?


IP addresses and geolocation data were suspected to be compromised at the time. “This exposure has been addressed as part of the closing conditions for this acquisition,” the report says. “However, the data was exposed for > 1yr and could already have been harvested.”

 

There’s also a report about an unspecified Google speech service storing speech data of more than 1,000 children.“Estimated 1K child speech utterances were collected,” an employee said. “Team deleted all logged speech data from the affected time period.”

 

The outlet also released a list of other notable incidents, like an employee using private videos from Nintendo’s YouTube channel and leaking the information. An internal interview reportedly found that this wasn’t done intentionally, as per the report.

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