- Google admitted it may have accidentally sent some users' private videos to strangers after a bug impacted its Photos service.
- The affected service is called Google Takeout and it allows users to download their data. Anyone who made such a request during a five-day span last November could have been impacted.
- While Google says less than 0.01 percent of users were impacted, its user base on Google Photos is over one billion, meaning it's possible that 10 million people's videos may have been sent to the wrong users.
If you're one of the billion-plus users who rely on Google Photos for backup services on the cloud, you might want to check your email.
A bug has impacted less than 0.01 percent of users on the photo storage and sharing app, but then again, it has over one billion users, meaning it's possible that up to 10 million people using Google Photos could have been affected by a breach that sent private videos to complete strangers.
This snafu was caused by a very specific November issue with Google Takeout, a software service that allows Google Photos users to download their data to create another backup or seamlessly switch cloud services.
Anyone who requested their data from November 21-25, 2019 may have had their personal videos inadvertently exported to the wrong account—meaning that, yes, complete strangers could have seen glimpses into your life that you may not have wanted to share.
After a Twitter user named Jon Oberheide posted a photo of an email from Google detailing these problems, the company provided the following statement to 9to5Google:
We are notifying people about a bug that may have affected users who used Google Takeout to export their Google Photos content between November 21 and November 25. These users may have received either an incomplete archive, or videos—not photos—that were not theirs. We fixed the underlying issue and have conducted an in-depth analysis to help prevent this from ever happening again. We are very sorry this happened.
Oberheide also posted a follow-up email from Google that explained the tech giant would notify each person who had at least one video compromised. However, Google told him it did not have a complete list of impacted videos.
Beside Google sending your videos off to the wrong person, this error means the data you've requested through Takeout is incomplete. If this applies to you, Google recommends requesting another copy of your data and deleting the original, incomplete archive.
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