Google bug accidentally shares users' private videos with strangers

Google bug accidentally shares users' private videos with strangers
In this day and age of privacy concerns, Google just committed a major faux pas. Between November 21st and November 25th of last year, the "Download your data" service for the Google Photos app suffered a major issue. Those who asked Google to export and download pictures and videos from the Photos app might have been affected by Google's "my bad." Because of a bug, the company accidentally sent some videos to archives unrelated to the person who hosted the video in the Google Photos app. In other words, Google was accidentally disseminating users' videos to perfect strangers.

According to The Verge, those affected by this mistake received a message from Google that explained what happened. It also revealed that not only might their videos end up in strangers' archives, but they might also find videos from strangers posted in their own archives. There was some good news in the missive as Google wrote, "The underlying issue has been identified and resolved. We recommend you perform another export of your content and delete your prior export at this time."

In a statement to 9to5Google, Google apologized and basically repeated what it said in the message it sent. "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."


There really isn't anything that you can do if your videos ended up being viewed by people you don't know, except hope that certain clips you took don't win you an AVN award.

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9 Comments

8. meanestgenius

Posts: 23173; Member since: May 28, 2014

And here’s yet another instance why Google is just horrible when it comes to their own software. They just can’t get it right, but Pixel apologists will defend Googles implementation of software, and they get it the worst, specifically the flagship Pixels.

7. AlienKiss

Posts: 364; Member since: May 21, 2019

Here wa go again! Another day, another reason never to get a Pixel.. It's moments like this when I realize how much money MKBHD is probably getting from Google every year for praising such a buggy, glitchy product. I used to like him until I realized how biased and nationalist he really is. How come he never reviewed any Sony phones? Or when he posted that blind camera contest where the Note got the best score and he got so mad there was no Pixel or iPhone in the top. He made another video in which he practically told everyone was wrong and actually the Pixel is the best. Hahaha.. What a sore looser..

5. monkeyb

Posts: 417; Member since: Jan 17, 2018

What I am interested to know are 2 things: - Does Google have a way to confirm the users videos were downloaded by others. This is different from saying your videos ended up in others archive but we removed it before anyone could access it. - What would google do if sensitive data was indeed downloaded by someone. They need to tell users exactly which videos of theirs ended up in others drives.

2. asirfaysal

Posts: 109; Member since: Jul 19, 2016

1. gadgetpower

Posts: 354; Member since: Aug 23, 2019

This is so sad. Need to patch it now.

4. sgodsell

Posts: 7696; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

They already did last year.

6. Vokilam

Posts: 1503; Member since: Mar 15, 2018

Doesn’t look like it worked...

9. meanestgenius

Posts: 23173; Member since: May 28, 2014

Did they fix it last year, or did they fix it THIS YEAR after noticing that they had a bug that sent Google Photos users videos to other users that they didn’t belong to? Seems like the latter to me.

10. Venom

Posts: 4137; Member since: Dec 14, 2017

I didn't have that problem, so no fix needed on my end. I think it's just an isolated incident. I mean it's not like it's a broken charging port or Apple where a string of text can break your phone.

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