Senate seeks internal memo on Google+ vulnerability

Google CEO Sundar Pichai


Justin Sullivan / Techhnews

US senators on the Commerce Committee on Thursday sent a letter to Google CEO Sundar Pichai seeking information on a Google+ vulnerability the search giant revealed this week. The senators also asked to see an internal Google memo that reportedly advised against public disclosure of the vulnerability due to concerns over regulatory scrutiny.

“At the same time that Facebook was learning the important lesson that tech firms must be forthright with the public about privacy issues, Google apparently elected to withhold information about a relevant vulnerability for fear of public scrutiny,” the letter said.

Google declined to comment.

This comes after Google on Tuesday said it’ll shut down Google+ in response to a vulnerability in the social network that exposed the personal data of up to 500,000 users between 2015 and March 2018. Google didn’t disclose the vulnerability when it fixed the problem in March because the company didn’t want to invite regulatory scrutiny from lawmakers, according to The Wall Street Journal.


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The letter from Sens. John Thune, Roger Wicker and Jerry Moran referenced the Journal report in their request of the memo.

“Google must be more forthcoming with the public and lawmakers if the company is to maintain or regain the trust of the users of its services,” the letter said.

Thune, Wicker and Moran didn’t immediately respond to requests for additional comment.

In addition, Sens. Richard Blumenthal, Edward Markey and Tom Udall on Wednesday sent a letter to the Federal Trade Commission asking for an investigation into Google’s decision against disclosure of the vulnerability. 

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