Google may have shared your videos with strangers

Yolanda Curtis
February 4, 2020

Affected users have received quite vague emails, simply informing them that "one or more videos in your Google Photos account was affected by this issue" without specifying which ones, or how many people were given access.

Below is a tweet from an affected user, along with the alert sent by Google.

"Google today started alerting users about a "technical issue" that may have caused some of their videos in Google Photos to be sent to other users" archives.


The issue notably impacted only the users who requested for downloading the data through the Google Takeout service.

The number of users who used Google Takeout to download their data in that five-day period is relatively small; Google told 9to5Google that only 0.01 percent of Photos users attempting Takeouts were affected. Google says it has already identified and resolved the issue and suggests deleting the export you made in November to make a new one.

Google has confirmed that some people using its Takeout service to download a copy of their data past year had content from their Google Photos account shared with complete strangers by accident.


In a serious privacy lapse, Google is notifying users that videos stored in their Google Photos account were mistakenly shared with other unrelated users. "We recommend you perform another export of your content and delete your prior export at this time", the Google notification stated.

According to Google, the technical issue has been fixed and it has "conducted an in-depth analysis to help prevent this from ever happening again". "We are very sorry this happened", the spokesperson said.

This bug also illustrates the inherent risks of storing your data in the cloud.


"Many users trust cloud providers, especially for photos and videos which are automatically backed up from mobile devices".

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