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Security & privacy

Google Photos may have shared your private videos with a stranger

Data breaches and leaks seem to be happening more often these days. In most breaches, you need to worry about sensitive information getting stolen and sold on the Dark Web to people who will use it for identity theft.

There were actually quite a few of these types of breaches last year. Tap or click here to see the biggest data breaches of 2019. But, believe it or not, a recent leak is a bit more personal than that.

Strangers may have had access to your private videos.

Were your private videos leaked?

If you’re familiar with Google and all of the services it offers, you know it’s more than just the most popular search engine in the world.

You can do things like organize your favorite webpages with Google Keep, set a quick timer with Google Timer and so much more. Tap or click here for 20 incredibly useful Google products and services you didn’t know existed.

The bad news is one of Google’s most popular features recently had what’s being described as a “technical issue” that may have put your privacy in serious jeopardy.

Here’s what happened: There’s a feature called Google Takeout that lets you see everything Google knows about you. It also lets you export a copy of the data in your Google Account to back up or use with a third-party service.

That’s where the glitch comes into play. This week, Google started alerting Takeout users about a problem that was recently discovered.

The alert reads, “We are writing to inform you of a technical issue that affected the Google ‘Download your data’ service for Google Photos between November 21, 2019, and November 25, 2019, when it was fixed.”

Users who requested a Google “Download your data” export during that timeframe were potentially impacted by the glitch. If so, videos stored in Google Photos may have been exported to “unrelated users.” That means someone you don’t know might have accessed your personal videos.

Here is a tweet sent by an impacted Google user who received the warning:

How to stay protected

The only good news with this glitch is users’ photos were not accidentally sent to strangers. At least that’s what Google is claiming at this point. But, you don’t want your personal videos being seen by just anyone, right? That’s a breach of privacy that can’t be forgiven.

You may also like: Massive data leak exposes 1.2 billion records online

And, there’s not just a chance that your videos are in someone else’s hands — you might have downloaded a stranger’s videos, too. Google is asking everyone who requested a download during the timeframe in question to delete their exports and request another one.

But do you really want to go through this process again after finding out you may have already been compromised? Probably not the best idea. Instead, you should use a backup service you can trust. We recommend our sponsor, IDrive.

Save 50% when you sign up at IDrive.com and use promo code Kim at checkout. That’s less than $35 for your first year!

Whenever we’re dealing with private files, like personal videos, it’s best to stick with trusted services. And don’t forget to delete the export from Google just to be safe.

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