Google Docs Bug Leaked Users’ Private Documents

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If you’re the type of person prone to saving incriminating information in digital form, let’s hope it wasn’t on Google Docs. Last week, Google admitted that a glitch within its online suite of office programs caused some private files to be shared as public.

In a letter to potentially affected Google Docs users, the company confessed to the problem. “We’ve identified and fixed a bug which may have caused you to share some of your documents without your knowledge,” the note said. The conditions: Only documents and presentations were leaked, and even documents that were inadvertently shared could only be seen by people with whom users (or collaborators with sharing rights) had shared with in the past.

The bug kicked in when users selected multiple documents or presentations and changed sharing permissions. According to Google’s blog post on the matter, only 0.05 percent of documents hosted by Google were affected by the error.

Google has since fixed the glitch, and requires some users to reset permissions on documents that have been unshared in the process.

“We’re sorry for the trouble this has caused,” Google Docs product manager Jennifer Mazzon noted in her blog post. “We understand our users’ concerns (in fact, we were affected by this bug ourselves) and we’re treating this very seriously.”