NordLocker on "Google says it accidentally sent some users’ private videos to strangers”

NordLocker on "Google says it accidentally sent some users’ private videos to strangers”

By NordLocker’s encryption specialist Oliver Noble

On Tuesday, it emerged that Google had apologized to some users by email for accidentally sending their private videos to strangers. The company claims the leak was due to a now-fixed bug affecting Google Takeout, which allows users to export copies of their content from Google Photos. According to CNBC, Google confirmed that a small number of users who used Google Takeout to download their Google Photos content between November 21 and November 25, 2019, mistakenly received videos uploaded by people they didn’t know.

Here’s what NordLocker’s encryption specialist Oliver Noble says on the debacle: “The situation shows that these kinds of flubs can and do happen even to reliable cloud storage providers. Although there haven’t been any responses to the damage this incident caused, it is nonetheless a violation of privacy.At first glance, Google Photos seems to offer a great service, letting you automatically backup your photos and keep them in the cloud. However, like any other service, it has a cost - and the price is your privacy. By scanning your photos, Google can identify your face and track your location. It might look like a fair deal, but the recent case shows just how much of your privacy is at stake.” 

According to Oliver Noble, people shouldn’t entrust their private information (including photos and videos) to free cloud storage services. Instead, he points to zero-knowledge encryption as the solution. There are two main ways of keeping your files private: storing data in zero-knowledge cloud storage or using a file encryption tool before uploading valuable information to the cloud. This way, even if your cloud storage gets hacked (or the data gets mixed-up, like in Google’s case), no one else can decrypt your files and get access to the contents. Google offers great products for free, only asking for your data in return. As such, it is no surprise that Google Photos doesn’t allow encrypted content. But it’s no longer alone in the game, with many alternatives now offering stronger security. Google needs to shape up to keep up the pace.

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