Google Play hands your personal info to each developer with every app purchase

Google Play hands your personal info to each developer with every app purchase
Since it appears to be by design, it would not be called a flaw, but a developer in Australia has found that he is not very comfortable being given all this information when someone downloads his app.

What Dan Nolan does not know is if this information is forwarded by Google to developers of free apps, but when he logged into his Google Play account to update payment details for his famed Australian app, “Paul Keating Insult Generator” (the iOS version of which made it to number 1 in the Australian App Store), he was surprised when he noticed that the merchant section of his account had the full name, address and email of every person that bought his app. Moreover, it even had the information of people that started to buy the app, but canceled the purchase.

Nolan believes that every person that purchased an app in Google Play is affected by this. Google’s terms of service clearly state that personal information is required to be provided, and that it will share address and personal information if you purchase a subscription to a magazine. That is understood since purchases involve being able to verify billing information and require sending a product to your home or place of business. Google’s privacy policy says what information is collected but does not detail how personal information is shared with developers after an app purchase. In fact, the only parts of personal data that are stated to require an opt-in are “sensitive personal information.”

Google’s definition of sensitive personal information is “a particular category of personal information relating to confidential medical facts, racial or ethnic origins, political or religious beliefs or sexuality.” Nolan says it is a sharp contrast from what he received from Apple for his iOS app, “just a quantity of sales in a Country and then a cheque three months later.”

For now, know that every time you purchase an app on Google Play, the developer of that app will receive your name (understandable), address (not understandable) and email (understandable). Google’s “Business and Program Policies” only state, “Don't publish other people's private and confidential information, such as credit card numbers, Social Security Numbers, driver's and other license numbers, or any other information that is not publicly accessible.”

However, Google’s payment terms for those that accept payments through Google Payment Corporation, specifically prohibit the seller from using a buyer’s information obtained through GPC. A developer may use any “approved” payment processor, but GPC is the “checkout” summary for the developer. When you see the checkout summaries, you can clearly see that it is a system designed for physical goods and services. Google’s Developer Distribution Policy does not explicitly state that personally identifiable information is shared with the developer and only has two ambiguous parts to section 9 of the distributor agreement.  It could be argued that an enterprising developer will find a way to monetize your information beyond the app purchase or, just a feasible, the distribution of information increases the risk of your personal information falling into the wrong hands.

While Google’s privacy policy has been the subject of much debate for some time, right or wrong, we contend that this specific practice is not an indicator of being a good steward with personal information. If physical goods were being ordered that is one thing, but since Google is the mediator over these Google Wallet transactions, it is Google that “needs” all the information.

What does this all mean to you? Everything done online has an inherent risk to it and we do not believe this is the end of the world, but lately it seems that Google is falling into a perpetual loop of privacy concerns.

sources:, Dan Nolan and Droid Life

references: Google Play Terms of Service, Google Privacy Policy, Google Play Business and Program Policies, Google Developer Distribution Agreement, Google Payment Corp., Google Wallet Privacy Notice



1. Ninetysix

Posts: 2965; Member since: Oct 08, 2012

Bad Google..bad. Let's hear some comments from the loyal fandroids please. This is going to be good /popcorn

3. Sniggly

Posts: 7305; Member since: Dec 05, 2009

Nice job baiting there.

18. Mxyzptlk unregistered

Reality of the truth isn't bait.

32. SamsungFan

Posts: 201; Member since: Apr 16, 2012

Anyway Google is not tracking users as the rotten apple did... :-D

50. Mxyzptlk unregistered

That was an issue blown out of proportions. This is way worse than that. Your address is being shared with developers whether you consent to it or not. Does that not bother you?

53. Nadr1212

Posts: 741; Member since: Sep 22, 2012

Stupidity is traveling among Google these days.

60. anywherehome

Posts: 971; Member since: Dec 13, 2011

surprise: I give my personal info to every e-shop when I buy something! or maybe should I give there fake name and delivery to Alaska? and in Android I CAN put there fake name ;)

61. anywherehome

Posts: 971; Member since: Dec 13, 2011

this is much much worse: very very poor iToys security: goo [dot] gl/s8Ykw

14. joey_sfb

Posts: 6794; Member since: Mar 29, 2012

Good that these is made known. Google do need to justify why delivery address is reveal to developer. It will open us to spam if the developer is a popular one and choose to do so.

17. Mxyzptlk unregistered

This is getting ridiculous. Google is seriously starting to piss me off with how they handle users' private info. They shouldn't have escaped the FTCs probe with a slap on the wrist if they're doing this. I do not want my gf's info being given out every time she buys an app off the Play store.

42. Jonathan41

Posts: 532; Member since: Mar 22, 2012

How does it feel to get some thumbs up for a change? Your like the Fox News of phonearena right now. Trying scare everybody by exaggerating on something thats not really a big deal.

56. techtruth

Posts: 30; Member since: Feb 07, 2013


69. Berzerk000

Posts: 4275; Member since: Jun 26, 2011

Come on, this is what happens with ANYTHING bought with any form of payment except for cash, and you can't buy apps with cash. This is by no means bringing harm to the consumers, and if it is, please show me something about Android users being harassed by a developer in some way with this information.

39. RaKithAPeiRiZ

Posts: 1488; Member since: Dec 29, 2011

not a conspiracy theorist , but i smell that this is a very bad decision...too bad i get most of my apps in apk format

45. jroc74

Posts: 6023; Member since: Dec 30, 2010

Funny...I get the same info about the developer....except a real name. Some cases I do. Whats the problem again? Hey, do any of you have a credit card? Bank card? Ever buy something on Xbox Live, PSN? Ever buy anything online? Exactly. Have a Paypal or Ebay account? Ever sold anything on Ebay? Ever used Paypal to buy or sell something? Exactly. Its called....a merchant...account. Geniuses.

54. Nadr1212

Posts: 741; Member since: Sep 22, 2012

And thi s is called VIRTUAL purchases that probably wont b delivered to your door, GENIUS!

58. jroc74

Posts: 6023; Member since: Dec 30, 2010

If thats the case.......GENIUS....why do I get the developers address and email info...and in some cases their real my transaction info? Or did you NOT read the very first line in my post? You must have never bought anything online before...its possible.

55. Topcat488

Posts: 1417; Member since: Sep 29, 2012

If you don't know by now, let it be known... Google has been rumored too be a illumi-nutty participant... And NWO New World Order... It's FREE, the App is FREE... Think about it, now install the App, and get in line. ^(T-T)^ Big Brothers Watching. illuminate : illumi-nutty

2. Sniggly

Posts: 7305; Member since: Dec 05, 2009

The question is: what can be done with this information? The answer: nothing explicitly harmful. I don't know why such information is provided to devs, but it's not like it's being publicized. In short, I'm not fond of this action by Google, but it's not the worst thing I could hear about them.

7. lolioslol

Posts: 182; Member since: Dec 10, 2012

Because people are f*cking retarded when it comes to their personal info. I have had people refuse to give me the last four of their soc so I can look at their acct to upgrade their phone/add a line/even just access it. It's like "hey dipsh*t you gave us the info when you started the account, what's the problem? I couldn't do anything with that info if I wanted to, and f*ck you for the implication!"

13. UrbanPhantom

Posts: 949; Member since: Oct 30, 2012

So, your information is being doled out to an infinite number of so called developers, some of which are probably not even legit, and you don't think it's a problem? I guess Android users are so accustomed to having their data stolen they don't get bothered anymore ;o)

20. Mxyzptlk unregistered

+1 for the truth.

35. Droid_X_Doug

Posts: 5993; Member since: Dec 22, 2010

The information is not doled out to all developers. Only those you have purchased an app from. Or visited their app page. If you don't want information shared while you are visiting a developers app page (but before purchasing), don't log into the Play store and use anonymous browsing.

19. Mxyzptlk unregistered

Sniggly why do you continue to defend controversial actions like this? Have you forgotten how many rogue apps have made it into the Play Store? Imagine all of that personal info leaking out into the hands of a crook. They only need a few pieces to commit fraud. You need to see past your preference to Google and see the huge wrong here.

22. samystic

Posts: 242; Member since: Mar 25, 2012

so much for 100000+ apps bragging by fandroids... most of them are rogue and useless

25. VZWuser76

Posts: 4974; Member since: Mar 04, 2010

Have any proof to back up that claim? I'm not saying Google is in the right here, far from it. But as someone else said, it's not any different than any other time you buy something over the phone or internet with your credit card. They may have a reputation to maintain, but that doesn't mean they can't or won't do it. Hell, all it would take is one disgruntled employee who takes down your number and your bank account is lower. But to make a claim that most apps on the play store are rogue is baseless. Are there some that are? Sure, but does that mean that most are? I don't know and neither do you. If you were to make baseless claims like that about a group of people, it's called slander. While I don't like that they're doing this, the only ways to effect change would be to 1. Not buy apps, 2. Start a petition, or 3. Contact the BBB or your elected officials. And if you think that Google is the only company doing this, your in denial. Along with them are Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft, & even Apple. The amount of info they have may vary, as is the amount they share. But if you were able to determine what they actually have on you, you'd be surprised, and probably frightened and angry as well.

26. VZWuser76

Posts: 4974; Member since: Mar 04, 2010

Here is a screenshot of what the developer receives when someone buys their app. As you can see, it's no different than what any merchant would get when you purchase over the internet. And as someone else in that comment section said, the only anonymous way to buy anymore is with cash. If you use a check, money order, credit card, bank transfer, etc., they will have at least that amount of info. Even using paypal, they still get your name, address (to ship the product to), and your email. So if this really turns you away from dealing with Google, you better only purchase your stuff with cash in a physical store. Here's the screenshot:

46. jroc74

Posts: 6023; Member since: Dec 30, 2010

EXACTLY!!!. How do ppl that buy things online think its done, magic fairy dust? Do they somehow thing iOS devs ...dont...hve access to the same info? Either the iOS devs do....or Apple or the other.

47. samystic

Posts: 242; Member since: Mar 25, 2012

rogue??? please read the news again... and i m not selectively mentioning anything useless??? please generate a list of 10 apps that are required everyday (irrespective whether you have internet connection or no)... i do not consider games as apps... so please deduct 50% from that list

52. VZWuser76

Posts: 4974; Member since: Mar 04, 2010

You called the apps rogue in your comment, saying that most of the apps in the playstore were "rogue and useless". When I said baseless (not useless), I meant that you had no proof of your claim that MOST of the apps are rogue and useless. As far as the apps being useful or not is irrelevant. What's useful to you may not be to me, and vice versa. In reality, NO apps in ANY app store (Google's, Apple's, Microsoft's, Blackberry's, etc.) are NECESSARY for everyday. That implies that a person can't survive the day without them. And there is not a SINGLE app that will mean someone dying if they don't use it. ALL I was saying was that you had no proof of your claims. It would be no different than me saying that most people from New York are rude. I can make the claim but I have no proof that it's true. Unless you can show me facts that say that over 50% of Play Store apps are rogue, you are making a baseless claim. Anything else is your opinion, which like a**holes, everyone has one.

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