News | Tech: Google tried to hide the Google+ breach from the glare of lawmakers, but it failed and it’s now being investigated and facing lawsuits

Tech: Google tried to hide the Google+ breach from the glare of lawmakers, but it failed and it’s now being investigated and facing lawsuits

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  • Google did not disclose the fact that it had left the data of 500,000 Google+ users exposed due to a glitch.
  • Regulators in Germany and Ireland are now pursuing possible investigations into Google.
  • Two Google+ users in California have also filed a class-action lawsuit.

Google's attempts to keep its Google+ glitch under wraps have backfired.

The Wall Street Journal revealed on Monday that not only had Google exposed the data of 500,000 Google+ users over a three-year period, but it had chosen to keep quiet about it.

Google said in a statement that it decided against making the glitch public because it found no sign that third parties exploited the exposed information, however, this didn't fully tally with an internal memo seen by the Wall Street Journal, in which Google lawyers warned that going public could result in "immediate regulatory interest."

Now regulators in Europe are talking up investigations. Bloomberg reports that Johannes Caspar, the data commissioner in Hamburg, Germany, has started looking into the matter. His office confirmed this to Business Insider.

Ireland's Data Protection Commission is also showing an interest, but a spokesman said Google was under no obligation to report the breach because it identified it before the EU's GDPR laws came into force in May.

He added: "The DPC was not aware of this issue and we now need to better understand the details of the breach, including the nature, impact, and risk to individuals and we will be seeking information on these issues from Google."

On top of any regulatory interest, Google is also now facing a class-action lawsuit. Two users filed the suit in San Francisco, which alleges that Google's "lax approach" to security resulted in the breach. However, the suit views Google's decision not to inform people of the breach as a more heinous crime.

"Worse, after discovery of this vulnerability in the Google+ platform, defendants kept silent for at least seven months, making a calculated decision not to inform users that their personal information was compromised," according to the lawsuit, which was first reported by Ars Technica.

Business Insider contacted Google for comment.

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