Google error leaks owner personal info for nearly 300,000 websites forums forums Politics and other things Google error leaks owner personal info for nearly 300,000 websites

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    Andy Brown

    A Google software problem inadvertently exposed the names, addresses, email addresses and phone numbers used to register websites after people had chosen to keep the information private.

    The privacy breach involves whois, a database that contains contact information for people who’ve bought domain names. For privacy reasons, people can elect to make information private, often by paying an extra fee.

    The privacy settings for domain names registered through the company eNom were being turned off right at the time when the domains were up for renewal, starting around mid-2013.

    “I immediately knew that was really weird,” Williams said. “Nearly everyone these days is very careful about their presence online.”

    Google partners with registrars including eNom to let people register domain names. Williams contacted Google, and in about six days the privacy settings had been restored. In a notice, Google blamed a “software defect.” Company officials could not immediately be reached.



    Security breaches like these are exactly what I think of when “cloud based” services such as online backups, outsourced corporate e-mail servers, Webmail accounts, and Google Drive (and similar file hosting services) come up. One thing that I find rather insidious about the big Webmail providers is that they encourage users to leave their e-mails on the server, rather than deleting them or downloading them.


    Oh I love that.

    Every single message I’ve ever received since about ’04 is archived in a couple gmail accounts.

    I’m fortunate in that I was able to setup a forward to just make that happen. Where I would not be, I would have to manually do it for things of significance.

    Can’t tell you how valuable that has been. I get questions, support calls, need to look up solutions, promises, contacts, and who knows what else, and it’s always there, easy.

    Just the income from being able to do that pays my few dollar a year Google storage bill many times over.

    I can also point to the many working professionals I’ve helped sort out, or who I see struggle having lost local / Outlook datasets. Painful.

    Additionally, I e-mail myself PDF’s, links, data, bits of code, and lots of other handy to have, but hard to find and track kinds of things.

    This is huge. Drop the right keywords in there, and it’s gonna get found with a simple search. I pretty much don’t have to maintain tedious local data stores.

    All I do is archive to a disk. And it’s there, but it’s a mess. If somehow the cloud broke big, I could get things, but I wouldn’t enjoy doing it.

    What I like most is the ability to bag and tag, then use search. This tends to beat folders in performance and time investment. Would never, ever go back.

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