Google And North Korea Try To Save Face

Grind for October 13th, 2018
“When you are insane, you are busy being insane – all the time.”
– Sylvia Plath

Baby Steps

The Headline

North Korea says it will allow inspectors into nuclear facilities

The Grind

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is ready to allow international inspectors into nuclear and missile facilities, said Sec. of State Mike Pompeo after a visit to Pyongyang this weekend.

According to Pompeo, inspectors will have access to the Punggye-ri nuclear site “as soon as we get it logistically worked out.”

North Korea claims it destroyed Punggye-ri in March.

The Details

Sec. Pompeo also suggested Kim and Trump could meet again soon, as Kim had proposed last month.

“We are not quite there yet, but we will get there,” said Pompeo. “Most importantly both the leaders believe there is real progress that can be made…so we are going to get it at a time that works for each of the two leaders and at a place that works for both of them.”

Pompeo’s words are good news given the recent souring of relations between the US and North Korea following reports of renewed missile activity in August.

Later that month, Trump canceled a planned visit to the peninsula by Pompeo because no “sufficient progress” was being made towards the goal of denuclearization.

Kim’s attitude towards the US improved following a September meeting with South Korea President Moon Jae-in, who encouraged Kim to resume negations with the Trump Administration.

Kim made a commitment to allow inspectors into Punggye-ri when he met with Moon, but experts said it was crucial that he reiterate that commitment to Pompeo.

Secrets Don’t Make Friends

The Headline

Google keeps data breach a secret to preserve its reputation

The Grind

Alphabet Inc. on Monday announced it would be shutting down Google+ following a data breach that gave outside developers access to users’ personal data.

The breach began in 2015 and was fixed in March of this year.

Google refrained from notifying users in fear of public backlash and regulatory scrutiny. At the time, executives warned that disclosing the incident would invite comparisons to the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

The personal data that was exposed included names, genders, birth dates, email addresses, profile photos, occupation, places lived, and relationship status.

Google says it found no evidence of misuse of data, but has admitted that it has no way of knowing for sure.

The Details

The decision to shut down Google+ is part of a broader set of changes designed to improve security. In its announcement on Monday, the company said it would no longer give outside developers access to user data on Android phones and Gmail.

Google has faced pressure to restrict access to outside developers following an investigation which discovered that app developers were using free email apps to gain access to users’ inboxes. In some cases, developers read private emails to improve their software algorithms.

The Google+ incident looks particularly bad following the company’s insistence that it is less susceptible to data breaches than Facebook. The company could also face lawsuits over its decision not to inform users about the breach.

“The story here that the plaintiffs will tell is that Google knew something here and hid it,” says lawyer Al Saikali. “That by itself is enough to make the lawyers salivate.”

Did you know… Every month, about 9 out of 10 American children visit a McDonald’s restaurant.