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Google Asks Media to Tone Down Story About Google Play “Flaw”

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After it was reported that Google Play distributes Android app buyers’ location and contact information to developers, the search engine giant reached out to one journalist, requesting to tone down the story.

Google’s “Massive Oversight” on Google Play’s Security Flaw

The original story posted by news.com.au was headlined “Massive Google security flaw puts users’ details on display for all to find.” It discussed about the search engine giant’s recent shift at Google Play, which now forwards buyers’ personal information to developers. However, it was pointed out that sharing of customers’ data was not outlined in either Google Play’s Terms of Service or in the company’s privacy statement.

Undisclosed sharing of customers’ data was discovered by Australian developer Dan Nolan, who noted that “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.”

This means that customers who entrusted their information to Google are having their data spread across a variety of developers who may not even have a security policy. With billion of names being undisclosed to every app vendor on Google Play, it is more likely to encounter security breach. As Nolan puts it, “This is a massive oversight by Google.”

Google: Burying and Toning Down the Subject

After the news was published on the Australian site, it was reported that the story was amended at the request of Apple. The website took out the words “massive” and “huge,” while the word “flaw” was also put into inverted commas. Author Claire Porter also added:

For people asking how the story was amended: Despite the fact that Google refused to comment on the record, I was asked to change the headline (both the homepage headline and SEO headline inside the story), as well as the standfirst and lead (fist paragraph). Google’s issue was with the use of the word “flaw”.

Google has refused to comment further about the issue but apparently views that the issue of sharing customers’ data as non-newsworthy and should not be reported as a security flaw.

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