An Australian software developer has raised concerns over Google’s app store, after being sent the full names, email and some postal code information of everyone who bought his mobile app.
Dan Nolan, the developer who discovered the ‘buried’ policy, wrote:
“This is a massive oversight by Google. Under no circumstances should I be able to get the information of the people who are buying my apps unless they opt into it and it’s made crystal clear to them that I’m getting this information.
“The way the system is designed, it (the information) is not what a user would expect to hand over. If you buy something on the iOS app store, you purchase it off Apple, and they pass the money to the developer.”
The controversy is just the latest in a long line of Google privacy concerns, including the payment a $22.5 million fine for bypassing the privacy settings on Apple’s Safari browser.
Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, has criticised Google’s policy:
“Meaningful consent is about people understanding what they’re getting into. It’s about not tricking them. In a situation like this, where people just don’t know what information is being transferred or who it’s going to or for what purpose, it seems ridiculous to say that Google has consent.”
He also believes that Google might be violating its settlement with the FTC, which it made in 2011.
Google gave defended the policy stating:
“Google Wallet shares the information needed to process transactions, and this is clearly stated in the Google Wallet Privacy Notice.”