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Aussie App Developer Thinks Google Play Privacy Is An Insult

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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As Paul Keating would have said, Google Play are scumbags, privacy-wise

Google is coming under fire for its privacy policies once again after an Australian software developer claimed that the company was providing him with personal information about everyone who purchased his application through the Google Play digital marketplace.

Developer Dan Nolan broke the issue online in an outspoken blog post on Tuesday: “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.”

Nolan’s app, the Paul Keating Insult Generator, automatically generates insults in the style of Paul Keating, the outspoken Australian politician, who was Prime Minister between 1991 and 1996, and specialised in abusing opposition leader John Howard, describing him as a “dessicated coconut”, a scumbag and a maggot.

The app has been a best-seller on Apple’s iPhone, and Nolan recently released a version for smartphones that rely on Google’s Android operating system.

To his surprise, Google then sent him the full names, email addresses and some postal code information of his customers. He found that this was not some random privacy glitch, was perfectly acceptable and normal practice for both Google Play and Google Wallet.

Google Play privacy is an insult

Android evil squarePrivacy advocates have accused the company of not being clear enough about its policies and have deceived users by ‘burying’ the notice in its terms and conditions without adequately informing customers of what they are signing up for.

The search giant has come under fire from regulators for changes made to its general privacy policy last year, which allowed users’ personal data, while in 2010 it settled a class action lawsuit over its now-defunct Google Buzz social networking service after users claimed it violated their privacy.

Facebook has also been criticised for its privacy policies and faced a user backlash after it proposed changes which would allow it to share details with its other businesses such as Instagram and moved to prevent users voting on changes to the sites governance.

The social network acquired Instagram last year but sparked fury from users over planned changes to its terms and conditions which said it reserved the right to sell photos without compensating users, proposals which have since been scrapped.

How well do you know Google’s secrets? Find out with our quiz!