The cloud bites back: Google bug shared private Google Docs data

The cloud bites back: Google bug shared private Google Docs data

Summary: Google has confirmed that a software bug in its Google Docs online applcation service exposed documents thought to be privately stored.The problem was fixed by the weekend, and is believed to have affected only half a percent of the digital documents at a Google Docs service that provides text-handling programs as services on the Internet.

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Google has confirmed that a software bug in its Google Docs online applcation service exposed documents thought to be privately stored.

The problem was fixed by the weekend, and is believed to have affected only half a percent of the digital documents at a Google Docs service that provides text-handling programs as services on the Internet.

Google Docs Product Manager Jennifer Mazzon wrote the following in a message on the official Google Docs blog on Saturday:

"We've identified and fixed a bug where a very small percentage of users shared some of their documents inadvertently."

"We're sorry for the trouble this has caused. We understand our users' concerns (in fact, we were affected by this bug ourselves) and we're treating this very seriously."

According to Google, the problem occurred in cases where people had chosen to collaborate on multiple documents and adjusted settings to allow access to others. Collaborators were unintentionally given permission to access documents aside from the ones intended.

"As part of the fix, we used an automated process to remove collaborators and viewers from the documents that we identified as having been affected," Mazzon said.

"We then emailed the document owners to point them to their affected documents in case they need to re-share them."

Google and other companies (such as Drop.io) are encouraging users to migrate online software-as-a-service and other offerings "in the cloud," instead of using desktop software. The companies insist the move is safe, but just where do you draw the line?

Small as it is, is half a percent too risky for the cloud?

Topics: Emerging Tech, Browser, CXO, Cloud, Data Centers, Google, IT Employment

Andrew Nusca

About Andrew Nusca

Andrew Nusca is a former writer-editor for ZDNet and contributor to CNET. During his tenure, he was the editor of SmartPlanet, ZDNet's sister site about innovation.

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14 comments
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  • Why would anyone what to store personal data in the cloud

    Please give me back the Personal computer, where I am in charge of what my computer does and where my data is stored.
    LittleGuy
    • "Why would anyone what to store personal data in the cloud"

      Makes just about much sense as putting personal info on any of these lame "social networking" sites.

      Same probability that someone will gain access to it, and use it against you. Stupid...REALLY stupid.


      ths40
      • And how did we get so stupid? ....

        Computer education in this country consists of learning MS-Word. Duh, what's a directory and why would i want to know?
        LittleGuy
        • How?

          Many fooled themselves into believing we need all our data 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, no matter where we go, not because there is some actuall need, but instead because they can.





          GuidingLight
        • Its called.....

          Lack of good education. All they seem to want to teach in schools these days is liberal arts. I support that education, but when it becomes the focal point of education we are falling far behind other nations that make true mind building courses like math and science. Too many self-esteem advocates have taken over our children's education, which goes hand and hand with the babied society that we have created. Throw laziness on top of that and you have America. It really is pathetic.
          OhTheHumanity
  • LOL LOL...ROTFLMAO

    I don't want to tell anyone "I told you so."...but I told you so.

    Cloud computing...just the thing for safe, secure storage of information...NOT! :D
    IT_Guy_z
    • BINGO!-nt

      nt
      TheBottomLineIsAllThatMatters
  • Speaking of sharing data

    http://www.theinquirer.net/inquirer/news/353/1051353/african-executable-raises-symantec-hackles
    bjbrock
  • RE: The cloud bites back: Google bug shared private Google Docs data

    Still no joy on the cloud frontiers. My question is what are the legal ramifications of this? If you migrate completely to the cloud and you had illegal MP3s and Google accidentally made them "unprivate" could you get sued by the RIAA?
    What would happen if your corporate contacts were made available by Google? If your company loses a bid for a job because your business plan was exposed, does Google have to reimburse you for the cost of the lost job opportunity?
    mr1972
    • Until Google can guarantee data security...

      Until Google can guarantee data security don't put anything on google
      apps that's sensitive.

      Until Google or any other company for that matter can guarantee data
      security (meaning that you could sue them for losses) then cloud
      computing will never be more than just a toy that nobody can use for
      serious work.

      Other companies that offer similar services should take heed.

      LifeSizeActionFigure
  • RE: The cloud bites back: Google bug shared private Google Docs data

    exactly why i nor any of my clients will ever use any of these useless services. everybody thinks the "cloud" is so great, you can have it. don't store anything out there that you don't care if anybody sees.
    g_keramidas
  • Hello, DonnieBoy?

    DonnieBoy, are you there....?
    GuidingLight
    • Ouch...nt

      nt
      TheBottomLineIsAllThatMatters
  • RE: The cloud bites back: Google bug shared private Google Docs data

    People really need to think a little more about what they are dealing with here. Facebook, et. al. are essentially "public" web sites, memberships and such not withstanding. Google docs is the same thing. Think about what you are putting out there. Treat what you do on the web as if it is for "public consumption", unless you really trust the company and it's services. Google runs a big search engine with advertisements, they've written a web-browser, and now they have some online applications. So what? Does that mean they know how to keep your private data private?
    whoisbp