Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Mon Dec 11 2017 19:46:04

Google Says eBay Is Working to Resolve Privacy Flaw

By: Ina Steiner

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A day after we informed eBay and Google of a privacy breach involving eBay customer identities, a Google spokesperson told EcommerceBytes, "When we learned about the issue, we took action immediately and stopped displaying all reviewer names from eBay. eBay is working closely with us to investigate and resolve it."

A reader tipped us off over the weekend after he noticed the product review section of product pages on Google Shopping displayed real customer names next to the reviews that were submitted to Google by eBay. On eBay's own product pages, only eBay User IDs are displayed next to product reviews.

As we noted in yesterday's post, this is concerning especially for sensitive items such as medical diagnostic tests - including pregnancy, drug, and HIV home-testing kits. 

Google responded to us right away, and by Sunday night it had masked customer names and User IDs for all reviews displayed on its Shopping site. 

As we noted this morning, the privacy incident raises security issues as well. eBay has yet to respond to multiple inquiries.



Comments (21) | Leave Comment | Permalink

Readers Comments

Perminate Link for Google Says eBay Is Working to Resolve Privacy Flaw   Google Says eBay Is Working to Resolve Privacy Flaw

This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless

Mon Dec 11 22:40:23 2017

Of course ebafia hasn't responded, Ina. The ghost of Jose Mallabo is now in charge.

OR (Multiple Choice)

1. They don't believe you.
2. They have no idea how it happened or how to fix it.
3. They don't care.
4. All of the above.

Perminate Link for Google Says eBay Is Working to Resolve Privacy Flaw   Google Says eBay Is Working to Resolve Privacy Flaw

This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Mon Dec 11 22:40:45 2017

Well I have to admit that only eBay reviews had personal names next to them when I viewed the reviews yesterday.

I've been buying marijuana test kits and sure wouldn't want my name attached to them!

But I didn't leave any reviews on the items I purchased.

I just have to wonder why Google has taken all reviews down if this is just an eBay problem? ? ?

But Google says it's an eBay problem and I see no reason why we all shouldn't believe them. . .Like eBay, Google would never lie!

Perminate Link for Google Says eBay Is Working to Resolve Privacy Flaw   Google Says eBay Is Working to Resolve Privacy Flaw

by: Paul W This user has validated their user name.

Tue Dec 12 01:23:30 2017

Google acted responsibly in taking out all user information until the problem is thoroughly investigated and resolved.  While it seems quite likely this is an eBay only problem, best to be overly protective.  Likely what happened is some eBay programmer in preparing the feed to Google inadvertently replaced a colon with a semi-colon (or some other typo), thus skipping over the user ID to the user name in the feed.

Perminate Link for Google Says eBay Is Working to Resolve Privacy Flaw   Google Says eBay Is Working to Resolve Privacy Flaw

by: maxmad This user has validated their user name.

Tue Dec 12 05:08:27 2017

ebay must have rookie programmers working for them, because this is a rookie mistake, they released data to the public domain, when it should have been private, unfortunately this is probably not the worst of it,, I would advise people to change their passwords asap

Lucky for ebay that google had the decency to block those URLS to keep the damage to a minimum,   but  that is just google, there are many other search engines bots that would have found the content too, the information is still out there,
 

Perminate Link for Google Says eBay Is Working to Resolve Privacy Flaw   Google Says eBay Is Working to Resolve Privacy Flaw

This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Tue Dec 12 05:30:25 2017

Funny thing is we've had the best sales in years over the past 24 hours!

I know it's just a coincidence but I'll take the sales to the bank.

We sold 18 items, a normal day is 5. . .

Perminate Link for Google Says eBay Is Working to Resolve Privacy Flaw   Google Says eBay Is Working to Resolve Privacy Flaw

by: b86fiero This user has validated their user name.

Tue Dec 12 11:26:09 2017

Kudos to Google.

Litter box lumps to eBay.

Perminate Link for Google Says eBay Is Working to Resolve Privacy Flaw   Google Says eBay Is Working to Resolve Privacy Flaw

by: RL15 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Dec 12 11:43:51 2017

nice that google took action while fleecebay ignored the issue!!

and once again fleecebay proves they are not a tech company no matter what the idiot ceo says.

Perminate Link for Google Says eBay Is Working to Resolve Privacy Flaw   Google Says eBay Is Working to Resolve Privacy Flaw

This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Tue Dec 12 11:59:57 2017

If eBay had nothing to do with this breech of info why would they respond?

I still think this is all Google's fault

But I've been wrong many times in the past like the time I invested in Iridium & Metricom

Perminate Link for Google Says eBay Is Working to Resolve Privacy Flaw   Google Says eBay Is Working to Resolve Privacy Flaw

by: ignatz This user has validated their user name.

Tue Dec 12 12:55:21 2017

I wonder if the eBay IT department has any inkling that it's a laughing stock.

Perminate Link for Google Says eBay Is Working to Resolve Privacy Flaw   Google Says eBay Is Working to Resolve Privacy Flaw

This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless

Tue Dec 12 14:44:37 2017

Marijuana testing kits? Really? Name revealed briefly.

One toke over the line, Sweet Jesus, one toke over line, Tool!

Didn't you say you were getting clean? See NA and AA. Based on their erratic and often non sensical performance, it looks as if some of ebafia's management should be attending meetings and learning how to make amends to those they've hurt.

Perminate Link for Google Says eBay Is Working to Resolve Privacy Flaw   Google Says eBay Is Working to Resolve Privacy Flaw

This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Tue Dec 12 15:47:48 2017

@Ming the Merciless

Today is day 31 of no smoking cannabis, I'm still testing positive as of this morning.

The last time I stopped in 2008 it took 62 days to test clean. . .

Perminate Link for Google Says eBay Is Working to Resolve Privacy Flaw   Google Says eBay Is Working to Resolve Privacy Flaw

This user has validated their user name. by: cfrphoto

Thu Dec 14 01:07:14 2017

"ebay must have rookie programmers working for them, because this is a rookie mistake, they released data to the public domain, when it should have been private"

The cause is bad management and failure to specify all aspects of software design. The problem also implies that eBay is not keeping personally identifiable information (PII) in a database with strict access controls on a different server hosted on a secure domain not directly reachable from the Internet.

Perminate Link for Google Says eBay Is Working to Resolve Privacy Flaw   Google Says eBay Is Working to Resolve Privacy Flaw

This user has validated their user name. by: LasVagueness

Thu Dec 14 01:21:37 2017

Big data's privacy creep is a significant threat to our social fabric. I'm not a big government advocate but privacy is an arena I would like to see heavily regulated. Thank you, Ina, for following up on this SERIOUS issue.

Every six months or so I have to comb the Internet and look for my name and then take the time and trouble (and it can be a lot of trouble) to find the privacy links and purge my name, address, date of birth, relative list, and previous addresses for the last 20 years (!) from these sites. Not only do these 'people finder' sites offer all that personal info they even tell you who lived at your address before YOU moved in.  

Perminate Link for Google Says eBay Is Working to Resolve Privacy Flaw   Google Says eBay Is Working to Resolve Privacy Flaw

This user has validated their user name. by: BuildingMyOwnSite

Thu Dec 14 17:30:32 2017

@LasVagueness said:  ''Big data's privacy creep is a significant threat to our social fabric. I'm not a big government advocate but privacy is an arena I would like to see heavily regulated. Thank you, Ina, for following up on this SERIOUS issue''.

    I too run regular searches on my name, and am continually glad for two things: 1) I am not under 30 years old, and 2) I have lived in this house for over 40 years, and Google can't see it from the street.  I have been inside of way too many houses on the internet, of people I have only casually met.....  (Gee, I wonder what the inside of their house was like).  

    Why are NON-LISTED houses on the internet anyway, and why anywhere but where they are listed?  Think about what this will be like when we apply it to school pictures, etc, and you can't even opt out, let alone in.  Oh Crap, acne, bad hair, big ears, and that wrinkled sweater ALL OVER AGAIN!

    This issue is PARAMOUNT with me.  It must NOT be left for corporations, or ''A Free Marketplace'' to sort out.  The defense department has repeatedly said that our privacy, our security, and the internet are the NUMBER ONE THREATS to AMERICA.  Yes, this MUST be handled by a government office, and will certainly have to wait for a change in administrations.  

    This entire scope of issues seems to be getting worse BY THE DAY!

    Thank you Ina.

Perminate Link for Google Says eBay Is Working to Resolve Privacy Flaw   Google Says eBay Is Working to Resolve Privacy Flaw

This user has validated their user name. by: LasVagueness

Thu Dec 14 18:11:28 2017

I'm with you, @BuildingMyOwnSite, 100%! Few things get me riled up more than gratuitous invasions of privacy on the Internet.  

Perminate Link for Google Says eBay Is Working to Resolve Privacy Flaw   Google Says eBay Is Working to Resolve Privacy Flaw

This user has validated their user name. by: BuildingMyOwnSite

Thu Dec 14 18:25:07 2017

@LasVagueness:   I know it's wrong.  Especially for friends that have, or are selling their  homes.   I try so hard not to do it.....  Plus they always have new countertops.

Perminate Link for Google Says eBay Is Working to Resolve Privacy Flaw   Google Says eBay Is Working to Resolve Privacy Flaw

This user has validated their user name. by: LasVagueness

Thu Dec 14 20:02:44 2017

@BuildingMyOwnSite If the house is for sale then it is fair game. Besides, how else are you going to keep up with the Jones (or Garcia's or Cohen's)? Virtual house viewing also helps in assessing comps. What I am opposed to is the listing of full addresses, DOBs, relatives, address history and social media accounts online. For a small fee, you can find just about anything someone does online.

Perminate Link for Google Says eBay Is Working to Resolve Privacy Flaw   Google Says eBay Is Working to Resolve Privacy Flaw

This user has validated their user name. by: BuildingMyOwnSite

Thu Dec 14 21:14:29 2017

Agreed on all points.  Oh yeah, but how about if I look around a little inside, but the house is NFS?  I just want to know if they put any tacky new countertops in.....

Seriously, where I live..... Scoping out houses, that have EVER been on the market, (so you can see both the outsides, AND the insides), gives the thieves an incredibly good guess of houses to hit.  And the houses don't have to be visible from the street, as on Google itself.  

When it comes to rural, if you are starting from an ''aerial'' Google map, it's easy to see where you need to place your accomplices with one-off cell phones, that warn you in plenty of time if anyone is coming, and where to exit, possibly even off road.  Idiot, Meth using slimebags have always worked in 3's & 4's in rural areas, and are beginning to use cheap, dumbed down technology.

Perminate Link for Google Says eBay Is Working to Resolve Privacy Flaw   Google Says eBay Is Working to Resolve Privacy Flaw

This user has validated their user name. by: LasVagueness

Fri Dec 15 19:55:41 2017

@BuildingMyOwnSite  Fascinating. I hadn't considered the criminal element in online home postings, but right you are!  

Perminate Link for Google Says eBay Is Working to Resolve Privacy Flaw   Google Says eBay Is Working to Resolve Privacy Flaw

This user has validated their user name. by: BuildingMyOwnSite

Sun Dec 17 16:20:54 2017

    I have a friend that JUST SOLD a rural home, 20 miles from town, 1/4 mile driveway, through pine forest.  No security system of any kind.  Average distance between neighbors, 1+ miles.  Owners had moved away.   Google earth shows the only ways in or out.  Realtors showed it maybe once a week.  No one ever there at night.  Two lane county highway that goes nowhere, deserted at night.  From the driveway entrance, car headlights can be seen for at least two miles each way.

     Typical targets for break-ins are of course Money, Booze, Electronics.  But the realty pics showed the house empty.   Except, the near new, Subzero refer, Jenn-aire cooktop, Commercial built-in double oven, 2 big flat screen, wall tv's, Even near new water heater, washer, dryer.  I know of NUMEROUS houses and cabins with EVERYTHING including cheap furniture, just simply cleaned out, overnight.   (Why would a thief want to buy an appliance?)  

     Access to this house is conveniently provided on BOTH FLOORS, through the “Just back-up your pickup and/or small trailer'' pathway.  It leads to within a foot or so,  of the easy peasy sliding glass doors.  (BYODolly)  Any appliance in there could be removed in 10 minutes, most of them 5 minutes.  This house had been a recent remodel, but an unexpected job move precipitated a quick sale.  They figured just leaving the appliances would help get a good sale price.  They were lucky, it sold fairly quick, but not until sitting empty for 2 months.   Houses like this get cleaned out ALL THE TIME.  And the best way to get the info on them, is through listings.

     Search “Rural houses for sale in Podunk”.  Realtors identify the targets, even at 3am.  Google Earth ranks them relative to risk, you don't even need gas for the car.

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