Google is again under attack for its apparent mishandling of its users’ personal information. An Australian software developer 'Dan Nolan' revealed that the search giant was sending him the full names, email and post codes of everyone who purchased his app on Google's Play.
In a blog post, Nolan said the information was so detailed he would even be able to use it to 'track down and harass users who left negative reviews or refunded the app purchase'. Nolan discovered that he has obtained a fair share of customer info himself after logging into his Google Play merchant account to update his payment details.
The main problem is that Google is not asking explicit permission from buyers to share that information with developers, but according to privacy groups and with careful inspection of the policies, Google does not clearly mention that it is sharing personal information to app developers nor does it create a good deal of effort in informing buying customers.
The sign-up process for Google Wallet tells prospective users that they will need to share some basic information with merchants to conduct their transactions. But from a practical point of view, many people seemed blindsided by the news that their information was being shared. There was a mention that developers could take any type of personal information and still sell it to another party.
Last year, Google was accused of violating the consent order by placing tracking cookies on the computers of Safari users, despite telling those same users they would be automatically opted-out of such tracking. Google agreed to pay a record $22.5 million to the FTC.