A purchase on Google Play may leak your email address to developers
I use several email addresses for a variety of purposes. One for my Internet business, others for family matters, friends and online purchases. What I'm trying to do is limit the exposure of some email addresses on the Internet to avoid that they are being added to spam databases which would result in my inbox being flooded with spam messages.
According to one Android developer, a purchase on Google Play, Google's virtual store for all things Android, reveals not only your email address but also your full name and information about your location to the developer.
If you bought the app on Google Play (even if you cancelled the order) I have your email address, your suburb, and in many instances your full name.
The core issue here is privacy, for obvious reason. First, you are not asked if you want to reveal those information to the developer or at the very least get to pick an email address and maybe an alias when there is no way around it. Second, you do not know that your information are revealed and for some users, it may explain the increase in spam they have received in recent time.
Even if most developers either do not know that those information are available or do not abuse them in any form, there will certainly be some developers who either sell the information to advertising agencies and marketers, or use them for email marketing purposes of their own.
Besides marketing, developers can also use the information to contact users who have left negative reviews on their sites, or harass them in other ways, for instance by signing them up for newsletters and other databases. The majority of developers won't abuse the system, but since there are so many developers out there, the likelihood is high that some do.
At the very least, Google should inform users before they make a purchase. This can be done similarly to how app permissions are displayed before installation.
It needs to be noted that this is reported by a single Android developer right now. It is not clear why this has not come to light earlier.Advertisement