Google+ yields to class-action lawsuit over privacy issues

After a lengthy court battle, Google+ finally submits to the class-action lawsuit over allegations of breach of user privacy.

Reports cite court documents referring to Google+ agreeing to a settlement worth US$7.5 million [AU$10 million]. Users of the platform from the United States can claim part of this settlement. While the number seems too big, a single affected user is entitled to only $12 of settlement.

Breach of privacy

The issue first came up in 2018 when reports that Google+ breached user privacy emerged. Google was forced to shut down the platform after a thorough investigation. It appears that a bug in the platform inadvertently exposed 500,000 user data for at least three years.

Following its internal investigation, the tech giant reported that the leaked data was not misused in any way. The company added that the data was not compromised by any third-party. Nevertheless, this did not deter concerned users from filing a class-action lawsuit.

Google immediately went into damage control in order to contain the breach. An investigation revealed that private data were exposed because of the bug. However, the bug did not affect sensitive user information like passwords, social security numbers, and passwords.

During that time, Google said that its internal team discovered the bug as early as March 2018. However, the company did not inform the public of the bug until October. The tech giant claimed that it did not disclose the bug in fears of “regulatory scrutiny.”

How to claim the settlement

As previously mentioned, Google+ agreed to a $7.5 million settlement to close the case. This means that users who were affected by the bug are entitled to a $12 settlement.

However, there are certain points to be noted as to who is qualified for the settlement. For one, the settlement is open for users in the United States. Secondly, their profile must be active from January 2015 to April 2015 and had their non-public data exposed.

It is important to note that no evidence pointed out that developers have access to the exposed data. Nevertheless, Google decided to shut down the platform due to poor usage numbers.

Google has set up a webpage for users to claim their settlement. All the details about the lawsuit are also shared on that website. Users can access the website for more information.

The Google+ bug highlights the fact that even top tech companies still have vulnerabilities. However, it took nearly a decade for Google to settle this particular issue.

Image courtesy of Arthur Osipyan/Unsplash

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