A bug in the Google Checkout software accidentally exposed the phone numbers of customers to merchants in countries that charge a value-added tax, affecting customers in more than two dozen countries. The bug has been fixed, as reported by CNET News.
According to Google, the bug caused digital goods to be categorized as physical goods, which require the phone numbers of buyers be provided to the merchant for shipping purposes. The bug was active for about a month before being corrected.
"We had a bug in our Google Checkout merchant center and API. This meant that merchants selling digital goods may have seen buyer phone numbers which are normally provided only when users buy physical goods," a Google spokesman said in a statement to CNET. "We fixed the problem in the merchant center and we're rolling out a fix to the API over the next few days. We apologize to those impacted by this issue and appreciate their patience as we work to resolve it."
Countries affected by the Google Checkout bug included Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, and Taiwan (yes, that's a lot).