Oops - Google May Have Sent Your Embarrassing Private Video to a Stranger
February 7, 2020
Google misdirected a number of private videos that users of its Google Photos app intended to back up to Google Takeout, sending them instead to strangers' archives, 9to5 Google
reported Monday.The company emailed affected users to inform them that a technical issue caused the error, which incorrectly transferred videos for several days before it was fixed.Google recommended that affected users back up their content again and delete their previous backup. They were advised to contact Google Support for further assistance.Google Photos passed the 1 billion user mark last summer.Although it said just 0.01 percent of users were affected, Google did not indicate whether that percentage applied to Google Photos or Google Takeout users."Google did fix the issue quickly," acknowledged Erich Kron, security awareness advocate at
KnowBe4."However, the notification process to those impacted was less than satisfactory and left out a lot of details, leaving those possibly impacted unsure of what the exposure risks were for them," he told TechNewsWorld. "When dealing with an issue that impacts privacy in the way that improperly sending files as sensitive as photos and videos is, the communication needs to be very clear and informative."Google's notification "reads like they really don't care about what happened to the users, and that could backfire badly with organizations like the European Commission," noted Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group.The issue "highlights the challenge with protecting and managing personal photos and videos," said Josh Bohls, founder of
Inkscreen.People use their mobile devices to scan business documents, and they use a broad range of photos, video and audio for everyday tasks that drive business processes, he told TechNewsWorld."If you work for a law firm, healthcare provider, insurance company, or in another regulated industry and take photos or record videos as part of your job, your company should strongly consider a solution to protect and manage this content -- especially if you use Google Photos," Bohls said."
The problem "shouldn't happen at all, and it once again points to Google as a firm that can't be trusted with your data," Enderle told TechNewsWorld."If the video content was sensitive and private, then you could have a violation of the GDPR or California's CCPA, remarked Mike Jude, research director at IDC. "That sort of thing could trigger fines and remedial action."Google's failure to disclose who wrongly received videos could lead to more trouble for the company, Enderle pointed out. "Users should have a right to that information, and they likely could sue Google to get it. Then, depending on what's in the video, sue them for damages."Any indemnification clause in the user agreement might not protect Google because the issue was due to negligence, he said. "I wouldn't be surprised if we saw a class action suit come out of...