A Google software problem accidentally leaked the names, addresses, email addresses and phone numbers which people used for registration in websites, even after opting to keep the information private. The hidden data of nearly 280,000 users was leaked due to a bug in Google’s system.

The owners of the websites whose details were leaked said that they all opted into “WHOIS privacy protection,” which means that when someone WHOISes – or queries – the website, the personal details of the individual who registered it are hidden.

The WHOIS service can be used by an anonymous political blogger or anyone who owns a website about a hobby. The service can be used by even those who just want their details to be private.

305,925 websites domains were registered this way using WHOIS. However, 282,867 of them (94%) have been found to leak the user details due to an error in Google’s code. Customers’ leaked information includes “full names, addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses.”

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