Google has once again had to promise to address an error leading to a privacy risk, this time on Google Calendar. The website, the Verge, reports that users who use the service to create personal reminders and who put a person’s email address in the Calendar subject line automatically invite that person to the event. All this is done without permission and is yet another example of Google crossing the line in the use of private data. Terence Eden, who first found the flaw, observed that creating a reminder entry “e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org with divorce details” would add the event to both your calendars – likely not what you would want to happen.
Google is working on a fix, or workaround, to resolve this flaw, which clearly must have been created in the company’s effort to create some form of smart calendar functionality. Not so smart now.
It’s interesting to remind readers of the ‘error’ that led to the Google UK privacy case. In our case, Mac users using the Safari browser and who clicked private browsing, opting out of being tracked by Google, were apparently tracked nonetheless due to to a flaw, which later required a fix. All very familiar. And they say lightening doesn’t strike twice.
This latest embarrassment for Google comes as it faced a widespread outage of its services that meant almost 10% of its users couldn’t access their mail, Calendar and other Google services. All caused by a software bug, apparently, and fixed within the hour. Shame they can’t fix their attitude to privacy quickly too.