Earlier this week, Google was forced to shut down its social networking site Google Plus after acknowledging a security breach had revealed the private data of hundreds of thousands of users. The breach was identified in March but Google decided to keep it secret, claiming it had no evidence that any third party had accessed the data. With the decision to shut down Google Plus, perhaps its parent company was acknowledging a new regulatory focus in Europe and some states in the US on the responsibility of companies to keep data secure. Last month, Facebook discovered that hackers were able to access the accounts of tens of millions of users. Both companies are being investigated by Irish data protection regulators. In the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, in which the personal information of Facebook users was accessed without permission, the ways in which private data can be accessed and harnessed has been of critical concern. In India, much of the debate around Aadhaar was focused on privacy. Last month, Huffington Post reported that a ‘patch’ could be purchased to disable its security and generate false Aadhaar numbers.
Google Plus users whose private data was accessible to third parties because of security failures
Amount for which customers can sue companies for every breach of private data, under a new law in California to come into force from 2020
Days, over which Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified in US congressional hearings about the data breach and other privacy issues
Applications made by other companies could gain access to Google Plus users’ data without authorisation, including user name, gender, age, occupation, and email address
Facebook users whose personal information was used by Cambridge Analytica to tailor political ads. Last month, 50 million Facebook accounts were vulnerable to hacking
Hours within which companies must inform regulators of potential data breaches, according to a new European law. The Google Plus data breach happened before the new law was in effect
The price of a ‘security patch’ that can reportedly skirt Aadhaar security controls to generate fake Aadhaar numbers