India: Google+ to shut due to data leak

November 29, 2018


Technical advancement has facilitated the transformation of the channel of communication which was dependant in physical form to virtual media inclusive of means such as email, chatting, text messages, etc. Increased infiltration of the internet has connected multiple users on an integrated interface who were otherwise segregated over large geographical distances. A number of the social media engines are active presently such as Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, Instagram, etc.


Google+ is an Internet-based social network that is owned and operated by Google. It allows its users a platform for sharing posts/ updates, video calling, text messages, group chats, etc. A user profile is a publicly visible account attached to many Google properties. It includes basic services like a profile photo, about section, cover photo, previous work and school history, interests, places lived and an area to post status updates, etc.

Data Protection

Electronic platforms offer a wide capability of data storage and facilitation of its easier use. Data includes confidential details like sensitive personal information, opinions, photographs, address, occupation, etc. The cyber world remains threatened with the nefarious activities such as data theft and hacking of the computer systems which takes place across the borders with the help of electric impulses attributable to the access of technology to the criminal elements of the society.

It is necessary to create a collective culture that fosters a free and fair digital economy, respecting the informational privacy of individuals, and ensuring empowerment, progress and innovation. The right to privacy is a fundamental right covered under right to life provided and it is of utmost importance to protect personal data of the individuals.

Sensitive Personal Information

Sensitive personal information of a person means such exclusive information which consists of passwords; financial information such as Bank account, credit card, debit card or other payment instrument details ; physical, and mental health condition; medical records and history; Biometric information; any such related detail as provided to body corporate for providing service and any of the information received under above clauses by body corporate for processing, stored or processed under lawful contract or otherwise.

Google+ data leaked

On October 9, 2018, it was disclosed that private profile data of at least 500,000 users of Google+ may have been exposed to hundreds of external developers and thus Google was in the process of shutting it down the consumer version.[1] This was attributable due to the presence of a bug which in the system for about 2 years. Although Google found no evidence of any data misuse, but the incident of data leakage raises concerns for safety in respect to the user information collected by Google+.

Earlier, Facebook, on September 28, 2018, disclosed a security breach affecting nearly 50 million user accounts[2] and admitted sharing of its user data to renowned organizations such as Cambridge Analytica, Huawei, Lenovo and Oppo challenged its credibility.

The increasing number of data sharing incidents jeopardize the interests of the users of the social media platforms. There remains an immediate requirement of formulation of stricter guidelines ensuring compliance to protect the data of the users. A number of countries worldwide are adopting for data protection legal framework such as General Data Protection Regime and enforcing local data protection regime where the primary focus remains on the protection of individual data. Google is also in the process of introducing stringent policies to curb the data accessible to developers offering mobile apps on the Google Play store or add-on apps for sending and organizing Gmail messages.

In the modern world the digitalization has taken humanity to next level. It has also brought to stake the safety of the users of cyber-world. Offering numerous services on the e-platform, collection of information of the users facilitates the course of online transactions. It therefore remains a vital obligation on the part of the service provider to prevent any illegal and improper usage of such details thereby creating a safer cyber environment.



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