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Consumers should be in charge of their data

4249731778_c071fcb365_oThe latest Google privacy debacle comes courtesy of Dan Nolan, an Australian app-developer,who has found he’s being sent personal information – without users ever giving permission for him to have it.

Dan spotted the issue when he logged into his ‘merchant’ section of his Google Play account and saw how for every customer who bought the app on Google play, he knew exactly who. “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.”

This is a relatively simple situation. You give your personal information to the Google App store, and Google – without explicitly asking you – hands it over to the developer of the app.  There’s no explicit notification, no request to transmit the data.

As Dan highlights, “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.”

The basic problem facing consumers is time and time again decisions about what happens with their data are taken without their knowledge and the true facts about what is happening is buried in vague privacy policies.

Apps are an increasing part of everyday life, so it’s essential that it is made crystal clear to consumers what happens to their data. App developers aren’t asking for this data, no other app stores share data in this way, so yet again we’re faced with a situation where it looks like Google has put profits before user privacy.

Consumers could be asked for their permission if the data is required, but it’s wholly wrong for Google to take control of our data away from people like this.

Posted on by Big Brother Watch Posted in Data Protection, Online privacy, Technology

13 Responses to Consumers should be in charge of their data

  1. Customers not Consumers.

    Here we go again!. please stop popularising the word ‘consumer’ we are not wolves or vultures, knock it off.

    • John Name

      Speak for yourself. I care about what happens to my data. I don’t care about whether we are called customers or consumers.

      • Customers not Consumers.

        Where did I say wherever I am for or against this? typical idiot.

        Go troll somewhere else.

        • John Name

          You intimated that ‘we’ are against being called ‘consumers’. I pointed out that as one of the ‘we’, I do not object to being called a ‘consumer’. Indeed, I share the author’s concerns about what happens to our data. And you called me an idiot. A troll being someone who deliberately causes offence, may I respectfully suggest that you fit the definition of ‘troll’ rather more neatly than I do.

          • Guest

            I am not the original poster, but I tend to agree with him, you like being called a vulture huh? each to their own. :P

          • John Name

            Well, at least you didn’t call me an idiot and accuse me of trolling in the same breath, so any disagreement between you and me can remain respectful and constructive. As to the current dispute, I don’t think that ‘consumer’ has the same meaning as ‘scavenger’, which is what your post seems to imply. I think that the author’s usage of ‘consumer’ is fairly standard – it’s much the same as the usage of economists when they speak of ‘consumers’ in contrast with ‘producers’.

          • John Name

            I was also objecting to his/her use of ‘we’, as I don’t really like having my viewpoint coopted. That’s why I wrote ‘speak for yourself’.

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  3. anon

    Oxford Dictionary definition of consumer (online):

    a person who purchases goods and services for personal use

    • John Name

      Yes indeed. Thanks.

    • Guest

      con·sum·er [kuhn-soo-mer] Show IPA
      a person or thing that consumes.
      Economics . a person or organization that uses a commodity or service.
      Ecology . an organism, usually an animal, that feeds on plants or other animals.

      I object to #1

      • John Name

        Hmm. It seems to me that the author is clearly using the word to mean 2, whereas the original objection is that the word is often used to mean 3. Not really a very well-founded objection, in my opinion.

        • Guest

          No, but it often feels like in economics class they recycle a derogatory term and use it to infer us, now as far as ‘producers’ go, that word doesn’t seem to have any other negative notation, if you get what I mean.

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