Privacy Warning! Google Buzz Flaw

Posted February 11, 2010, 9:21 am by Barry Chapman

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Barry Chapman

Maybe not as much a security threat as a privacy threat, but a recent article posted by Business Insider outlines a serious Privacy Flaw in their new application.


Peeping Tom

When you sign up to use Google Buzz, you are automatically set up with followers and people to follow, according to a spokesperson from Google. In all actuality, this is a great usability feature - until you get to the accessbility to your personal information. The people you follow, and the people that follow you are made publicly available to anyone who may happen to view your profile. This means that anyone could easily see the people you chat with and email most!


This claim was countered by Google, asking Business Insider to phrase this differently:

"In other words, after you create your profile in Buzz, if you don't edit any of the default settings, someone could visit your profile and see the people you email and chat with most (provided you didn't edit this list during profile creation)."


Once again thanks to Business Insider, they have provided a solution to this problem here.


Apparently, this implication was knowingly left open by Google so that they could further the word of their new tool by making it easy for people to get followers and to find new people to follow. This is a huge step in the direction of making the internet much less anonymous.


The pure fact that Google makes it 'difficult' for their users to make the decision to hide their personal information blew my mind when I signed up for it last night.


Needless to say, I have deactivated it (not that I have anything to hide!) A very gutsy move by Google, don't you think?

Filed under: Security Threats
Edited January 12, 2018 by Eric
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