Google confirmed on Tuesday that some people recently received private videos from strangers that had been uploaded to Google Photos.
According to CNBC, Google explained that people often use Google Photos to back up videos and photos stored on their phones. Google offers an option for people to download a copy of their private data, called Google Takeout. Still, when some people used Google Takeout to download their own content, they were accidentally given, videos uploaded by other people. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
A Google spokesperson told CNBC, “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.”
Google apologized for the breach explaining, “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.”
While Google maintains that fewer than 0.01% of people who exported data during the time period were affected, it’s unclear how many users that actually translates to.
Google Takeout is supposed to be a feature that gives users more control over their private data allowing them to download all of it, to either back it up privately or before they delete their Google account.
The company sent out an apologetic email to its users, which was shared on Twitter, in the email, Google alerts the user that “some videos in Google Photos were incorrectly exported to unrelated users’ archives” and that “one or more videos in your Google Photos account was affected by this issue.” It also warns that some people may have received videos not meant for them.
They also advised that anyone who has received that email should try to export again and delete any prior attempts.