The Wall Street Journal reported that a software glitch caused Google to expose personal-profile data of hundreds of thousands of Google+ users, and managers at the search-giant decided to keep the info under wraps.

After the news broke, Google announced in a blog post that it had closed down the social networking service for consumers.

The golden rule of data-breach defense: Be honest

Launched in 2011 after the fall of Google Buzz (Google’s 3rd attempt to create a social network), Google+ was the company’s last attempt at competing with Facebook… and obviously, it didn’t work.

According to the report, the glitch enabled outside developers to access the data between 2015 and March 2018 before the glitch was fixed, but Google concluded that nothing nefarious was done with the information.

The Journal reporters reviewed a memo prepared by Google lawyers and policy experts who had warned that disclosing the glitch would cause “immediate regulatory interest” and “cause reputational damage” in comparison with Cambridge Analytica.

According to WSJ sources, Google CEO Sundar Pichai was briefed on the plan only after the decision not to inform the public was made.

Here’s the bottom line: As lawmakers continue to watch big tech’s data-mining like a hawk, a security lapse like this is the last thing Google (or anyone else) needs right now.