Google sends app buyer personal data to developers

I am sure we all get calls from telemarketing agents offering to help use reclaim PPI or wanting us to take part in a “consumer survey.” Our details are bought from companies we register with or passed between affiliates to gain potential custom. Unless you tick the box to say you don’t want them to do it however.

But now it’s come to light that Google actively sends the personal details of app buyers to the developer. While this is nothing new, the level of detail the devs receive is disturbing. According to Australian developer Dan Nolan, Google sends him the name, suburb and email address of the people who purchase his app. He says:

[It’s enough] track down and harass users who left negative reviews.

Nolan made the discovery via his ‘merchant account,’ while updating his seller details. He keeps a blog as well, and has posted about the situation he found himself in on Tuesday. It’s safe to say he isn’t impressed.

This is a massive, massive privacy issue Google. Fix it. Immediately.

Nolan has even spoke with news.com.au about the issue. He has said he doesn’t know if the same practice is applied to free apps, but that any user that purchases an app, their details are passed on. To put things in perspective, Apple only send the devs the number of app sales in each country. Nolan went on to add:

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.

Google are yet to respond to Nolan’s discovery, but you have to wonder why, if this is common practice, it wasn't flagged up previously by a different developer.

Google’s Terms of Service for Play do not say anything about the sharing of members personal details with the devs of purchased apps. Although your email and registered address can be shared with magazine publishers.

Google’s Privacy Statement does say that Google shares its information between Google services, with the exception of Double-Click, and that it “will ask for your consent before using information for a purpose other than those that are set out in this Privacy Policy.” Maybe not in this instance.

Source: ZDNet

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14 Comments

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FFS! Sensationalist reporting at it's best. First by news.com.au and now by Neowin. This has been happening for years and only now because some 2nd rate developer who wants a bit of publicity has come out and made it sound worse then it is, everyone is up in arms about it. Find something useful to report or complain about.

Umm, I'm an Android Developer and well derr? It's always been like this, for years? Did some unqualified blogger find himself in a developer account and couldn't comprehend the realities of the real world or real work environment? Why is this a trending news article around the web? Click bait! Of course purchasers details are given to the developer, this is same as any transaction in the world. Ever bought something from a brick and mortar store that took details and put them on a receipt... Heaps of times. This is only for app purchases not free downloads also, it's part of the Google Checkout not the Play Store, because it's a legal transaction. Wow, bloggers are so completely moronic, I guess I shouldn't expect much from them. No developer has commented on this before because it's not an issue.

If this was common among all apps, it would of been mentioned LONG ago. Probably just an isolated incident or a bug in the system.

This is why I would trust a company that actually sells a product directly to consumers over one that makes money selling consumer data to an advertiser/developer any day. There's just little incentive for Google to stop doing this, but if MS or Apple did this, their customers (businesses/purchasers of their product) have a direct impact if they abandon the product. Its part of the reason I stay as far away from Google products as possible.

Drewidian said,
This is why I would trust a company that actually sells a product directly to consumers over one that makes money selling consumer data to an advertiser/developer any day. There's just little incentive for Google to stop doing this, but if MS or Apple did this, their customers (businesses/purchasers of their product) have a direct impact if they abandon the product. Its part of the reason I stay as far away from Google products as possible.

So you understood it that they are selling data to developers? Haters gonna hate. The reason they do that is because Developers can give refunds to their own apps after the 20 minute trial period. If you contact the developer, they (if they want to) can give you a refund anytime.

A lot of developers I know do this.

onionjuice said,

So you understood it that they are selling data to developers? Haters gonna hate. The reason they do that is because Developers can give refunds to their own apps after the 20 minute trial period. If you contact the developer, they (if they want to) can give you a refund anytime.

A lot of developers I know do this.


So you're okay with any person that has been involved with any App you ever downloaded, knows who you are?
I am not dude, stop defending this BS of Google. Considering the many sh*t apps and what not in the stores, don't think each developers is a nice sympathetic guy.

Here in Holland Name+Location fall under the NAW data (Name, Address, place of residence).
Which are illegal to share without prior agreement from the owner of that data (meaning you, me).
A company giving out data that's enough to find where a person lives is basically breaking the law in my country and im sure in several EU countries as well.

But hey this is Google! Not Microsoft, they'll get away with it, as usual.

Shadowzz said,

So you're okay with any person that has been involved with any App you ever downloaded, knows who you are?
I am not dude, stop defending this BS of Google. Considering the many sh*t apps and what not in the stores, don't think each developers is a nice sympathetic guy.

Here in Holland Name+Location fall under the NAW data (Name, Address, place of residence).
Which are illegal to share without prior agreement from the owner of that data (meaning you, me).
A company giving out data that's enough to find where a person lives is basically breaking the law in my country and im sure in several EU countries as well.

But hey this is Google! Not Microsoft, they'll get away with it, as usual.

Hey maybe if you ACTUALLY care to read the ToS you would know what when you are buying app from the Play Store, you are not buying it from Google (unlike the Apple app store, where you are buying the app from APPLE). In Google's market style, the DEVELOPER is selling you the app, not Google.

All your transactions you do go through GOOGLE WALLET. It's no different from Paypal, where merchants can see the user's info.

Google's is completely different model. If you don't like it then don't buy an Android man.

He/She thinks that his shi.tty-country rules, are applicable all over the internet...

"There in Holland", they don't read Terms Of Use. They know only to cry like puss.ies...