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September 25, 2013 / Corina Valderrama

Alleged Google Play Privacy Violations

Google is no stranger to allegations of privacy violations.  Recently, the Silicon Valley giant has come under fire for the way it manages users’ personal information through its mobile app store Google Play.

Google Play is available on Android smartphones and tablets.  Users can browse, purchase, and download over one million apps through Google Play.  To purchase any content, users must sign up for a Google Wallet account which stores their debit or credit card information to complete transactions.

News media reports that Google discloses personal information of Google Play users to third party app developers any time a user purchases an app.  This information includes the user’s full name, Gmail address, geographic location, and in some cases phone numbers.  Google’s mobile app competitors, Apple and Microsoft, do not share this information with app developers and there is question as to whether this information is necessary to complete the purchase.

According to privacy advocate, Alexander Hanff, the personal data could be sold and lead to identity theft.   The information disclosure could also potentially cause a safety risk allowing an app developer to “track down and harass users who left negative reviews or refunded the app purchase,” states Consumer Watchdog.  Moreover, disclosure of private identifying information may be particularly disturbing to consumers because some apps purchased through Google Play pertain to sensitive, personal subjects such as the treatment of diseases, sexual behavior, weight loss, depression, and infertility.

Google is alleged to have violated users’ privacy rights as well as various other laws as a consequence of the disclosure of this personal information.

If you have purchased a Google Play app since September 2011, please contact Khorrami Boucher Sumner Sanguinetti, LLP for a private consultation by emailing cvalderrama@kbsslaw.com or calling (213) 596-6000 and asking to speak to Corina Valderrama.

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