Google Photos private user videos were accidentally sent to strangers

Written 4 months ago by IanDorfman

If you used Google's Takeout function to export video content from Google Photos, check your email inbox for a notification from Google about potentially missing content. Someone else may have accidentally received it.

Google has sent an email notification out to users explaining that from November 21st to November 25th 2019, anyone that utilized Small Google Takeout iconGoogle Takeout to request backups of their Google hosted content in order to either preserve it locally or store it using another service may have had videos they stored in Small Google Photos iconGoogle Photos “incorrectly exported to unrelated users’ archives.”

Google's official email communication (as shared by Twitter user Jon Oberheide) recommends that users "perform another export of [their] content and delete [their] prior export at this time." This is Google leaving potentially random videos of strangers up to the good faith of their users respecting other users' privacy. This is not what immediately comes to mind as "privacy compliant."

Google sent the following statement out to 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.”

The best way to ensure privacy for your archived content is to back it up on local physical storage. For iOS device and Mac users, Small Apple Photos iconApple Photos is also a good alternative.

Further coverage:
9to5Google
The Verge