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Google Play privacy SNAFU sends app buyers' details to devs

Australian coder says if you buy his Android app he'll know where you live

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Dan Nolan, an Australian software developer, has claimed that Google Play sends those who sell apps in the online bazaar personal details of app buyers.

Nolan rose to notoriety late in 2012 by launching "The Paul Keating Insult Generator". Keating was Prime Minister of Australia between 1991 and 1996 and had a famously acid tongue. Keating described one political opponent as an "intellectual rust bucket" and laughed off criticism from another as "like being flogged with a warm lettuce."

Nolan's collection of Keating's best insults became Australia's best-selling iOS app. He's since coded an Android version, and when checking to see how well it has done made the startling discovery that the "merchant account" feature lets him see personal details about those who have bought the app.

"Let me make this crystal clear," he has blogged, "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," Nolan says.

Nolan's not provided any screenshots or other substantiations for his claim.

The Register requested comment on Nolan's report from Google, but the ad giant and self-driving car pioneer has not responded at the time of writing. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

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