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Android app developer raises privacy concerns about Google Play

Massive oversight gives developers access to user information
Fri Feb 15 2013, 10:56
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AN ANDROID SOFTWARE DEVELOPER has raised privacy concerns regarding the Google Play store, saying the company provided him with personal information of customers who had downloaded his app.

Australian developer Dan Nolan revealed the issue in a blog post describing how Google shared personal information, such as the full name, email and mailing addresses from users who bought his Android app, the Paul Keating Insult Generator.

"Today I decided to log into my Google play account to update my payment details. I jumped over to the 'merchant account' section to see the orders and realised one absolutely insane thing," Nolan wrote.

"If you bought the app on Google Play - even if you cancelled the order - I have your email address, your suburb and in many instances, your full name."

Nolan claimed that this is a serious oversight by Google, saying, "Let me make this crystal clear, every app purchase you make on Google Play gives the developer your name, suburb and email address with no indication that this information is actually being transferred unless they opt into it and it's made clear to them that I'm getting this information."

He went on to make the point that if he wanted to, he could use the information available to him through Google's checkout portal to track down and harass users who left negative reviews or refunded the app purchase.

"The problems on Android of app permissions is one of active negative behaviour on the part of an app developer," Nolan added. "This isn't. This is a massive oversight by Google. This is a massive, massive privacy issue Google. Fix it. Immediately." µ


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