Google has admitted that some Google Photos users have had their private videos sent to total strangers. The search giant began sending emails to affected users last night alerting them to the breach, reports 9to5Google.
The issue lies in a bug with Google Takeout—the service that allows people to download their Google data all at once or piecemeal. As Google alerted users in its email: Users who used Google Takeout between November 21-25, 2019, could have had videos in their Google Photos library “incorrectly exported to unrelated users’ archives.”
— Jon Oberheide (@jonoberheide) February 4, 2020
From Google’s email, it looks as if only videos were affected and not photos. Still, however, such a bug is a major privacy violation, and if someone else got the videos from your Google Photos takeout there’s nothing Google, nor the affected user, can do.
The only silver lining is that Google says the issue is now fixed. As a Google spokesperson told 9to5Google:
We are notifying people about a bug that may have affected users who used Google Takeout to export their Google Photos content between November 21 and November 25. These users may have received either an incomplete archive, or videos—not photos—that were not theirs. We fixed the underlying issue and have conducted an in-depth analysis to help prevent this from ever happening again. We are very sorry this happened.