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Google app store policy raises privacy concerns

Published on Feb 15, 2013 8:38 AM
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This screen image shows the Google logo in Washington,DC. Google on January 23, 2013 reported a "steady increase" in government requests to hand over data from Internet users in the second half of 2012. Google Inc's privacy practices are drawing heat after an Australian software developer said the company was providing him with personal information, including email addresses, of everyone who purchased his mobile app. -- PHOTO: AFP

SAN FRANCISCO (REUTERS) - Google's privacy practices are drawing heat after an Australian software developer said the company was providing him with personal information, including e-mail addresses, of everyone who purchased his mobile app.

The information that Google shared, which included customers' full names, e-mail and some postal code information, was not the result of a glitch with its software. Rather, it appears to be in accordance with Google's existing policies for its app store and its Google Wallet payment service - though some privacy advocates believe Google has not been clear enough in informing consumers about the practice.

Google has "buried" the notice about how it shares users' personal information in fine print rather than obtain the express consent of users, said Mr Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Centre (Epic).

"Meaningful consent is about people understanding what they're getting into. It's about not tricking them," said Mr Rotenberg. "In a situation like this, where people just don't know what information is being transferred or who it's going to or for what purpose, it seems ridiculous to say that Google has consent."

 
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