Google hid security bugs to keep up reputation

Photo: AP

World's most popular search engine Google found itself under cross fire due to revealed information that the firm's management hid details from shareholders about security bugs to support the reputation of the company, Reuters reported. Shareholders that were kept in the dark have already filed complaints in US court. The lawsuit accuses Google of fraudulently concealing security vulnerabilities, including in its Google+ social network.

The court said the lawsuit raised a "strong conclusion" that Alphabet's then-Chief Executive Larry Page and his successor, Sundar Pichai, knew about the bugs and an internal memo on security issues but intentionally concealed the information from investors.

The lawsuit followed an October 2018 Wall Street Journal article that said Google concealed the exposure of private data for nearly 500,000 Google+ users because it feared regulatory scrutiny and reputational harm.

Google ultimately admitted it had discovered the data exposure in March 2018, though there was no evidence of misuse, and decided to shut down the consumer version of Google+.

Judge Sandra Ikuta accepted the shareholders' argument that Google stayed silent to "buy time," and avoid the spotlight that Facebook was then under because Britain's Cambridge Analytica had harvested data from tens of millions of its users.

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