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Google Exposes Users’ Videos to Strangers

A glitch in Google's Takeout service exposed an unknown number of users' private video files.
Photo by Paweł Czerwiński

Google has begun notifying some users of its Google Photos service that their videos may have been accidentally delivered to third parties.

Credit: Twitter User @jonoberheide

This issue is connected to Google’s “Takeout” service, which allows users to download archives of data from their Google accounts to use with other apps. According to a statement by the company, the issue was present between November 21 and 25 of 2019 and caused archives to be downloaded incomplete or containing videos (but not photos) from other users.

Google sent the following statement to news site 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.”

Google Statement to 9to5Google

The exact number of affected users is unknown but Google says it is around 0.01% of Google Photos accounts using Takeout.

Jon Oberheide, Founder & CTO of Duo Security, was one of the affected. He’s taken to Twitter to express his disappointment with Google’s response.

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Kenny Hitt

Kenny Hitt

Kenny Hitt (@gulchcastkenny) is an Associated Press Award-Winning videographer, photographer and graphic designer, with his work having been featured by NBC, Image Comics and Scholastic Publishing. He has had a lifelong fascination with science & technology, especially in the entertainment & communications arena.
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