Google+ Stumbles Early with Privacy Loophole

Well, this didn't take long: Google's mayonnaise on toast clone of Facebook is already catching heat for privacy problems. Nothing as egregious as Buzzgate, but Google+ seems to be allowing unfettered sharing of your stuff with anyone. Not good!

Google+ has Circles, a sorta-neat, simplified "Groups" system, wherein you have to explicitly sort your buddies into various social spheres. Then, whatever you share from your account has to be explicitly beamed to one or more of these Circles. So that way, nobody can see your pithy thoughts or photos beyond those you want. Right? Not quite.

The Financial Times' Tim Bradshaw explains how the "resharing" feature of Google+ negates this considerate privacy feature entirely:

Say a close friend of mine posts a picture of her kids to her "friends" Circle. With the "share" option on every Google+ post, I can reshare this with absolutely anyone, from another Circle to which my friend does not belong, right through to making it completely public. The same loophole applies not just to photos but to any kind of post, as far as I can tell.

If she'd known about this risk (and how would she?), my friend could have disabled resharing using the drop-down menu on the right-hand side of every post, but it doesn't seem to be possible to do this before she'd already published it. Google+ also, for now, lacks any way to turn off resharing of all your posts from within its privacy settings.

This doesn't sound like a feature anyone would want enabled by default, and smacks of Google's Let's just assume people are okay with their shit drifting all over the place mindset from Buzz. And we all know how that turned out. [Financial Times]


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