Google has started notifying users about what seems to be a major privacy breach. The company is notifying some users about an issue that could have led to some of their pictures being shared with strangers, without their consent.
The issue was caused by Google’s Takeout feature, which is designed to allow users to export their data from Google services. And those who used the Google Takeout feature to export the pictures and videos on their Google Photos account were affected by the issue.
The issue affected users who used Google Takeout between November 21 and November 25 last year. According to 9to5Google, Google stated that less than 0.01% of Google Photos users were affected by the issue.
Google still seems to be downplaying the issue significantly, however. The company only sent out emails to the affected users, in a possible attempt to keep people quiet about the event. “Unfortunately, during this time, some videos in Google Photos were incorrectly exported to unrelated users’ archives. One or more videos in your Google Photos account was affected by this issue,” the email said.
— Jon Oberheide (@jonoberheide) February 4, 2020
“If you download your data, it may be incomplete, and it may contain videos that are not yours,” the company said. So it turns out that not only did Google mistakenly share some of your pictures/videos with others, but your downloaded data archives may also have videos from other users. And needless to say, that is obviously a very big privacy problem for all users involved.
Google will likely face a lot of criticism over this, and hopefully, that will force the company to share some more details on this. But for now, it seems like Google is trying to sweep the entire thing under the rug.