Bing and Windows Phone Launch National Education Campaign Warning Consumers: Don’t Get Scroogled by Google’s App StoreIn February, we called attention to Google’s practice of reading through Gmail messages to sell ads. We said that as long as Google keeps Scroogling its customers, we will keep holding them accountable.
Since then, some developers, consumer groups, and even a member of Congress have spoken out about another way Google is breaching your privacy — by a means that, according to a new public GfK Roper poll, 87 percent of American’s aren’t aware. This time, Google’s App Store, Google Play, sends personal information, including a your full name, email address, and the neighborhood where you live, to app makers every time you buy an app. Once Americans learn of this practice, according to the GfK Roper poll, 9 in 10 disapprove of it. GfK is the leading polling firm for the Associated Press.
When you buy an app from Google’s app store, Google sends your personal information without clear warning and you can’t opt out of the practice. Nothing on the purchase screen or in your email receipt lets you know that the app maker gets your personal details. Even if you cancel the order, you cannot get your personal information back from the developer. Tens of millions of users have already been impacted, and more continue to be every day. What’s more, Google is the only major app store that does this. One consumer group filed a complaint with the FTC, and other privacy experts and Android developers are speaking out.
“Google’s conduct constitutes a most serious breach of user privacy. Google Play apps deal with sensitive personal subjects, including health conditions and sexual activity.” — Consumer Watchdog Complaint to the Federal Trade Commission, 02/25/2013
"Let me make this crystal clear, 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. 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.”— Dan Nolan, developer who uncovered the Google Play Privacy Risk, 02/13/2013
New GfK Roper Poll: Americans Largely Unaware and Strongly Disapprove of the PracticeAccording to a new public GfK Roper poll, 87 percent of Americans aren’t aware that any app store passes personal information to app developers every time they buy an app. And once Americans learn of this practice, 9 in 10 disapprove of it and think that app stores shouldn’t share personal information with app makers without an opt-out option. Furthermore, 84 percent of Americans agree that it is an invasion of privacy when app stores share personal information with the makers of the apps they purchase.
Bing and Windows Phone Launch National Consumer Education Campaign at Scroogled.comSo today, at Scroogled.com, Bing and Windows Phone are launching a national education campaign, including national TV, print, and digital ads, to make consumers aware of the personal information Google shares with app developers each time they purchase an app from Google’s app store, Google Play. It is also to remind people that Microsoft is different: The Windows Phone Store doesn’t share our customers’ personal information with third-party app makers.
Why should consumers be concerned? Many apps involve personal subjects, like health conditions, disease management, and sexual behavior. So you can imagine how their personal privacy is put at risk when the makers of those apps are given their full name, email address, and the area where they live. It would be easy to see how, in the hands of the wrong person, these personal details could be abused and further circulated: With your full name and ZIP code, third parties could easily locate your street address and demographic information.
We’re not the first to recognize these privacy risks. Here are some things privacy experts are saying:
"Meaningful consent is about people understanding what they're getting into. It's about not tricking them. 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." — Marc Rotenberg, Executive Director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center 02/15/2013
“Google has been caught, again, in a systematic violation of their users’ privacy. If you buy something from the Apple App Store it is a private transaction between you and the App Store. If you buy anything from the newsstand on the corner, maybe a newspaper and some gum for $.99, it is an anonymous transaction. But if you buy anything from Google Play, the Google App store, your personal information is transmitted to the seller.”— Professor Eric Clemons, University of Pennsylvania, in the Huffington Post 02/27/2013
So What’s Google’s Defense?
After Android developers exposed Google’s deceptive app store privacy practices in February, privacy experts, consumer groups, and Congress spoke out about their concerns. In response to a letter from a member of Congress (LINK), Google offered several explanations for their behavior.
Google claims they disclose this sharing of personal information in the fine print of the Google Wallet Terms of Service. But, as numerous experts have attested, this is far from clear and nowhere in the fine print does it say that every time you buy an app, Google shares your personal information with the app maker. (LINK)
Google also claims that sharing this information is necessary to process your transaction and maintain your account — that is, to issue refunds, reversals and payment adjustments. But, similar stores — including the Windows Phone Store and Apple’s App store, don’t do this, because it isn’t necessary for an app maker to have your full name, email address and ZIP code to process the initial transaction, issue refunds or handle customer service issues. Google could easily provide more anonymous means to handle these transactions.
And finally, Google claims that app makers agree to protect the privacy of your data. But, as Google puts more of your personal information in the hands of strangers, spread all across the world, it’s more likely that it will be abused and it only takes one breach to seriously compromise the privacy of a number of the tens of millions of Android app buyers in the United States. Google has already admitted to complaints about the possible misuse of personal information by developers (LINK).
Privacy is our PriorityUnlike Google, the Windows Phone Store doesn’t share your personal information with app makers. Windows Phone has a robust app validation and certification process to help ensure that our apps are trustworthy and reliable for our consumers. Your privacy is our priority. If you can’t trust Google’s app store, then maybe you shouldn’t trust Google for anything.
I used to use Microsoft products, but have since switched to alternative manufacturers for my phone and computer needs. Microsoft, while popular, has always had serious security problems. The only sure way to keep your information secure with windows was to use false data when you registered the product, and never put in real information. As the years have passed, many people have begun to realize that Apple was built for security, reliability, and compatibility across their varied products.
Bing it on? I tried that; Google won 5-0
Microsoft lost my support with Windows Vista, and I won't try a windows phone either. I suspect I would see a blue screen pop up if I tried to call someone. *windows 95 era joke*
Microsoft may currently have the largest percentage of operating systems on personal computers at the moment, but as more users start using tablets and phones due to reliability and portability, the likelyhood of Apple dominating the market, and Safari becoming the dominant browser looks to be be more likely. Unless Microsoft starts making some serious changes to their products, the next few decades will likely see Apple take control of the consumer electronics department, and with it will be the software that Apple creates specifically for use with its hardware. The years of needing to hunt for drivers because 4 different companies made chipsets for the graphics card you just bought are coming to an end.
I just read bings terms. They look Exactly the same as Googles.
Plus by reading this article, Bing is my "new" homepage!
Hasn't apple been doing this for years now? I am not defending Google, but I think it is a load of crap that Google is getting the bad rep for this even though Apple does it. People piss me off.
Google does some incredibly sketchy things with our personal information. That having been said this is incredibly embarrassing and I feel so bad for Microsoft if this is the best ad campaign they can come up with for their awful OS.
Lol... MS can you really sink any lower... I can't believe you are slating all internet businesses that sell products to customers... Demanding email, address & phone number is standard stuff on the net... Maybe if you leant to use the internet someday your products would actually work with it. Remind me please, how many glaring security holes have been found in your products over the years? I think people would be more worried about losing their bank details through using your products than being bothered about normal details being taken during a financial transactions in Google products... Pathetic PR!
Come on Microsoft, why not worry about fixing that mess called Windows rather then trashing your competitors? You bash Google's security but most computer experts would laugh if I used the words "windows" and "secure" in the same breath. How would you like it if someone setup a domain for MicroShafting.com ? Oh wait, its been done
Hello? Microsoft? Do you actually read these comments? Take this ridiculous page offline, and start making some sweet, useful technology.
www h-online com/security/news/item/Skype-with-care-Microsoft-is-reading-everything-you-write-1862870.html
I will format my pc, remove the W8 I purchased.. ANd I will never again recommend Microsoft to anyone at work or anyone I know.
You guys are pissing off the nerds and this is not wise.. We recommend products for 80% of the users.
If you piss off the nerds, the noobs will buy other stuff we recommend.
I for one have only kept MS because of Steam, but now Steam is on ubuntu too.. So, bye bye, Microsux!
Microsoft got scroogled by scroogled.co.uk! When will Microsoft figure out this Internet thing?
Just read an article on the level of your cooperation with the NSA, FBI, CIA. This campaign is going to bite you bad.
What I find most incredible is how any supposedly intellectual Software Engineer from a prestigious educational institute could continue working for you after these revelations. Good luck with the future.
This new article just came out on THE VERGE "Microsoft helped NSA access private emails and Skype video calls, says new report"
this is some joke now.