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Google's latest PRIVACY MELTDOWN: Web chats sent to WRONG people

Now your buddies can play NSA spook

Application security programs and practises

Stunned Google Talk users have discovered their messages are going to the WRONG recipients on the web chat system.

Conversations appear to be funnelled to anyone on your contacts list rather than just the intended receiver. The advertising giant is aware of the cock-up, but has yet to fix the glitch.

It means that netizens should not have any expectation of privacy when chatting confidentially to their buddies via Google Talk (aka GChat) and Google Hangouts until the bug is crushed.

The web Goliath declined to tell The Register when the serious privacy flaw with its instant-messaging service will be rectified. A spokeswoman simply told us: "We are already looking into this."

The search king's status page for its software suite said its engineers are "investigating reports of an issue with Google Talk. We will provide more information shortly".

It has just added: "Our team is continuing to investigate this issue. We will provide an update by 9/26/13 12:00PM [GMT] with more information about this problem. Thank you for your patience. At this time Google Talk is not functioning correctly and we are continuing to work to restore full functionality."

It has not been a good week for Google's online services. On Tuesday, it was forced to apologise after millions of Gmail users across the world were unable to send messages for hours due to what the company said was a "dual network failure".

Complaints about GChat, meanwhile, are continuing to pile up. ®

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