Security Experts:

Google Shared Private Videos With Wrong Users

A bug in the Google Takeout download service has resulted in some users’ videos being inadvertently shared with other people. 

The issue was revealed this week, when Google started sending notifications to impacted users. The incident, however, occurred last year, between November 21 and November 25. 

The bug, which Google describes as a technical issue, was triggered when users requested a Google “Download your data” export. The feature was designed to provide individuals with the ability to create backups of their data, including photos and videos in Google Photos, and leverages Takeout for the operation.

In the notification sent to the impacted users, Google reveals that those who used Takeout to download their data might have ended up with someone else’s videos in their Google Photos backups. 

The issue, it says, only impacts those who requested to download their data between November 21 and November 25 last year. 

“Unfortunately, during this time, some videos in Google Photos were incorrectly exported to unrelated users’ archives. One or more videos in your Google Photos account was affected by the issue,” Google wrote in the notification. 

What the company could not say, however, was how many of a user’s videos might have been affected in the incident. 

The Internet giant also informed users that those who downloaded their data might find it to be incomplete or to include other people’s videos. 

Additionally, Google tells users that the problem was addressed, and encourages them to perform another export of their content, as well as to delete the previously created export. 

"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,” a Google spokesperson told SecurityWeek.

“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,” Google also said, noting that less than 0.01% of Google Photos users were impacted by the incident, and that the bug "did not impact other data type of the data users can download via Takeout."

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