Back in February of this year Google came under fire when it was revealed that personal data was sent to developers for every app purchase made, but now Google has started to role out a new version of its Google Wallet Merchant Center that addresses these privacy concerns.
Dan Nolan wrote a blog post called Massive Google Play Privacy Issue where he outlined how he discovered that app developers get the name, suburb and email address of every person who buys one of their apps. In a worst case scenario app developers could harass buyers who left negative feedback or who cancelled a purchase.
The problem is that every Google Play app order is processed as a standard Google wallet transaction and as such the app developers get all of the information (except the postal address) about the buyer. When something physical is bought this is necessary as a delivery address and contact information is needed. But for an app purchase this is too much information.
Google is refreshing the Wallet Merchant Center with a new design which it says will make it easier for sellers to understand their customers and business. Along the way it has changed some of the earning reports and removed the extra private information that doesn’t apply to app purchases. Once the new Merchant Center is fully deployed, developers will no longer receive the customer’s name or email address. The suburb and country does remain as they could be needed for tax purposes.
According to an email which Google sent to Google Wallet merchants, after the upgrade sellers will need to update their business information, including tax information.
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Does Amazon not provide even more information to their merchants? I don’t see people freaking out over privacy on Amazon. You are purchasing an app from a merchant/developer. I don’t understand why you don’t expect them to get some basic info from you such as email and location.