Google discovered a “privacy glitch” that inappropriately shared access to a small fraction of word-processing and presentation documents stored on Google Docs.
“We’ve identified and fixed a bug which may have caused you to share some of your documents without your knowledge. This inadvertent sharing was limited to people with whom you, or a collaborator with sharing rights, had previously shared a document,” Google said in a note they sent to affected users.
So the data was not shared with the world at large, only with those with whom you have collaborated in the past. But that person may have left the company or not have permission to access that particular document. Google estimates that the problem affected only 0.05 percent of documents stored on their service. Although that might seem a small number, given the increased usage of Google Docs that could represent hundreds of thousands of documents.
This highlights potential security issues of Web 2.0 and Cloud Computing. However, local storage is not necessarily more reliable. There seems to be no end to the list of privacy, security and data protection breaches resulting from stolen or lost laptops, USB sticks and even hardcopy documents left on trains.
Google has created a Privacy Channel on YouTube (YouTube – Broadcast Yourself ) where it has 23 videos on how to protect your Privacy on some of the Google services and products. Whatever you think about Google’s attitude to privacy these are viewing as they do provide useful tips and information on how to change your personal settings and protect your privacy. Thanks to Phil Bradley for the heads up on this one.