An Australian app developer has revealed that Google Play gives out your name, email address and suburb to developers of any app you purchased, even if you have cancelled the order. Why? All because how Google processes the payment.
Dan Nolan, an app developer who made an app called the Paul Keating Insult Generator, posted a blog post saying the root cause of the problem is that Google Play treats all orders as a Google Wallet transaction. This means your digital purchase is treated as ‘physical’.
He writes: “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.”
“With the information I have available to me through the checkout portal I could track down and harass users who left negative reviews or refunded the app purchase… This is a massive oversight by Google.”
Google Play does have ‘physical’ items in its store – namely the Nexus products – but it is a bit worrying that Google is giving this type of information to a developer. Having this type of information is necessary if you are a merchant that sells around the world, it is unnecessary for a developer. What purpose does it serve, other than simply making it possible for developers to data-mine it? That said, it will probably be allowed under Google’s terms of service – you know, the thing that you and I don’t read?