Google launches its new devices under the shadow of controversy

Google launches its new devices under the shadow of controversy
Logo of the technological company Google.
Google had everything ready for the launch this Tuesday of a new smartphone and other devices, but the event has been overshadowed by the storm that generated the announcement of a failure that forced him to close his social network.

The company said on Monday that it had found and corrected a security breach in March that exposed private data of up to 500,000 Google+ accounts, but was criticized for not revealing the incident earlier.

The revelation raised concerns in Washington over the privacy practices of the Silicon Valley giants, following a series of false steps from Facebook that could have allowed millions of people to leak data.

"In the last year, we've seen Google try to evade supervision of both its business practices and the processing of user data," Sen. Mark Warner said in a statement.

Warner said that despite the "consent" agreements with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) of the United States, "none of the companies seems to have been particularly chastened regarding their privacy practices," adding that " It is clear that Congress must intervene "for the protection of privacy.

Marc Rotenberg, president of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, a research and analysis organization, said the latest reported failure suggests that the FTC has not fulfilled its responsibility to protect user data.

"Congress needs to set up a data protection agency in the United States," Rotenberg said.

"Data security breaches are increasing, but the FTC lacks the political will to enforce its own legal decisions.

Growing tensions

The internet search leader had already faced tense situations with lawmakers after he decided not to send his chief executive to Congress to testify at a hearing on privacy and data protection, which the committee reacted to leaving an empty space for the company.

Last month, Google said it would send executive director Sundar Pichai to testify before Congress.

Google has also been targeted by President Donald Trump, who alleged that his search results were biased against conservatives, although there was little evidence to support that claim.

The rise in tensions comes as Google celebrates an event in New York where it is expected to launch its Pixel 3, the enhanced premium smartphone that aims to compete with the high-end devices of Apple and Samsung.
Images of the new Google phones, the Pixel 3 and the Pixel 3 XL. Photo: RRSS

The Pixel phone is part of a set of products that Google is launching as part of an effort to keep consumers in their mobile ecosystem and challenge rivals such as Apple and Amazon.

Pixel 3 launch event, Google's new smart phone. Photo: RRSS

On Monday, Google said it could not confirm which accounts were affected by the gap discovered, but an analysis indicated it could have left up to 500,000 Google+ accounts exposed.

The company did not specify how long the software flaw existed, or why it waited so long to reveal it.

The Wall Street Journal reported that Google executives chose not to notify users beforehand to avoid attracting the attention of regulators and favor comparisons with a data privacy scandal on Facebook.

Earlier this year, Facebook acknowledged that personal information of tens of millions of users had been used without their consent by Cambridge Analytica, a political firm that worked for Donald Trump in 2016.

Google has also faced growing criticism for the development of a version of its search engine adapted to the demands of censorship in China, and for its work for the US military.

On Tuesday, Google confirmed that it is abandoning the tender for a huge computer contract in the Pentagon cloud that could amount to 10 billion dollars, arguing that the agreement would be inconsistent with its principles. (09/10/2018)

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