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March 11th, 2009

Google Docs Users May Have Had Their Documents Shared With Strangers

Google has admitted that some users of Google Docs online word processing service may have had their documents shared with unauthorized users.

A flaw in the system meant that the documents of some users of the service were marked down as collaborative items, allowing third parties who are also signed up to the system to access and amend them. The flaw has now been fixed said the company.

“We’ve identified and fixed a bug where a very small percentage of users shared some of their documents inadvertently,” said the company blog over the weekend ( “The inadvertent sharing was limited to people with whom the document owner, or a collaborator with sharing rights, had previously shared a document.”

The flaw did not work on all functions of Google Docs. Text documents and presentations could be accessed by others but spreadsheets could not. Google is contacting everyone who was hit by the problem.

The company said that 0.5 per cent of their customers were affected by the flaw and that users would have had to have taken “a specific sequence of user actions” to get access to the documents.

Credit: The Inquirer

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