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May 23, 2019
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May 23, 2019
May 23, 2019https://www.wtaff.co/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/image-37-1.png21601440The digital marketer's #1 daily briefing!The digital marketer's #1 daily briefing!https://www.wtaff.co/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/image-37-1.png
Lawsuit + Irish GDPR probe + Accidental data mismanagement = A bad week for Google
Google had a great week at GML 2019, announcing several new products and features and getting some promising reception on them.
However, they’ve been brought crashing back down to Earth this week. They are facing a lawsuit by AdTrader, a probe from Irish privacy regulators and public backslash for privacy management.
Let’s have a quick look at each of them.
Withholding refunds for ad fraud
Rewind back to 2017, and a notably large ad fraud was discovered on ad exchanges. This led to advertisers using DoubleClick Bid Manager being offered refunds for serving their ads on sites that were receiving fraudulent traffic.
However, according to the Wall Street Journal, “Google wasn’t in a position to return money that had already flowed from its buying tool to third-party online ad marketplaces where publishers were selling ad space.”
AdTrader filed a lawsuit against Google for not delivering the promised refunds, even after it reclaimed money from publishers accused of using inflated or fraudulent traffic.
Court documents revealed that Google had refused to pay up to $75M in potential refunds that were tied to ad marketplaces like AdX and AdSense. Ad marketplaces that Google itself owns and controls.
As per third party estimates, ad fraud amounts to more than $16B globally, and brands will lose between $6B – $7B this year on fraudulent traffic.
The lawsuit is still in process, with Google forced to defend accusations of monopolism despite it positioning itself as a champion of advertiser interests.
First GDPR probe from Irish privacy regulators
In a continued standoff with European regulators over data privacy concerns, Google is also looking at its first GDPR probe from Ireland’s Data Protection Commissioner (DCP).
The probe started after browser company Brave filed a complaint alleging Google’s ad auction system constituted a data breach under GDPR rules.
“Every time a person visits a website and is shown a ‘behavioral’ ad on a website, intimate personal data that describes each visitor, and what they are watching online, is broadcast to tens or hundreds of companies.
A data breach occurs because this broadcast, known as a ‘bid request’ in the online industry, fails to protect these intimate data against unauthorized access.”
Google, as always, defended their auction system and pledged their full cooperation with the investigators..
If found guilty, the potential penalties for Google could be as high as 4% of its global annual revenue. This amounts to a whopping $5.4B!
Passwords stored in plain-text for 14 Years
Moving on from lawsuits and probes to downright carelessness.
There have been a few similar cases recently of Facebook and Twitter mismanaging data, but this time it’s Google under the spotlight. Google has been found storing its users’ passwords, unprotected, in plaintext on its servers.
How long has this been going on?
Google recently confirmed this, revealing that its G Suite platform mistakenly stored unhashed passwords of some of its 5M enterprise users on internal servers in plaintext. For the last 14 YEARS!
Apparently, this happened because of a bug in its password recovery feature.
The bug resided in the password recovery mechanism for G Suite customers thatallowed administrators to upload or manually set passwords for any user of their domain without actually knowing their previous passwords in order to help businesses with on-boarding employees and for account recovery.
If the admins did reset, the admin console would store a copy of those passwords in plain text rather than encrypting them.
Google has now removed this capability and emailed the admins a list of impacted users, asking them to ensure that those users reset their passwords.
Google will also be automatically resetting passwords for those users who do not change their passwords.
It also clarified that this bug has now been patched and didn’t affect the free version of Gmail.
Recently, Facebook was in the news for storing plaintext passwords for hundreds of millions of its FB and IG users on its internal servers. Twitter had a similar security bug which affected around 330M users’ data.
Well, it certainly looks like this sort of carelessness is becoming the norm for even the biggest tech platforms. Just another day, another story of awful data mismanagement.
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