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Grassley hits Google with questions about security breach

October 12, 2018

Google is facing mounting pressure from Capitol Hill as Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley became the latest senator on Friday to demand answers from the company about the recently exposed privacy breach.

The Mountain View, California-based company announced on Monday that private data, including contact information and name, from up to 500,000 accounts were compromised. The breach was discovered in March, around the same time as Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal, but Google users were not informed at the time.

The company shut down its Google+ social-media platform Monday in response to the breach.

On the same day, the Wall Street Journal reported that Google’s top executives and legal team knew about the breach but feared coming forward because it could spark “regulatory interest.”

Mr. Grassley criticized Google for not coming forward publicly and not informing Congress about the privacy issue despite having the opportunity to do so

“Despite your contention that Google did not have the same data protection failures as Facebook, it appears from recent reports that Google+ had an almost identical feature to Facebook,” Mr. Grassley wrote. “Moreover, it appears that you were aware of this issue at the time I invited you to participate in the hearing and sent you the letter regarding Google’s policies.”

The Judiciary Committee chairman posed seven questions to the company mostly focused on Google’s investigation into the scope of the breach. The tech giant has until October 26 to respond.

On Thursday, senators from the Commerce Committee also demanded answers from Google as to why it never disclosed the issue. Those answers are due on October 30.

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