Look, I'm all for privacy and protecting personal information as much as the next guy but this is silly. Google says they share customer information with people who need it. If customers don't like this, shop elsewhere. If developers don't like it, don't sell there. I really don't think this is as big a deal as it's being made out to be.
While I completely agree with you that personal information is valuable and something to covet (personally, that's why I'm not on Facebook) if you're going to use a service you would be well served to know what they do with your data before using it.
Holy crap! Dark Helmet!! Ok, ok, breathe Eric... breathe...
Big fan sir. Your comments and insight are some of the funniest, thought provoking, and interesting I've read and I'm flattered that you would take the time to respond to me.
I agree there is a possibility of negative outcomes but there are possibilities of negative outcomes with pretty much everything. Any time you give out personal information there's a possibiilty of negative outcomes. Focusing on this as a possible issue just seems more to fit an agenda than to actually solve a real problem.
I guess what go me thinking about this (and wanting to post my first comment to Techdirt ever), was the idea that developers having personal details of their customers was a bad thing. Especially considering there's no evidence in the article, anecdotal or otherwise, to back that up. I find it borderline insulting to presume that I (and other developers) would be less inclined to protect our/your data than many of the fortune 500 companies who have had HUGE data breaches (many of whom are written about here).
More, to bring up malware as a point of concern when it comes to developers data systems seems sort of silly. What I mean is that, in my experience, developers tend to be highly concerned when it comes to security concerns. Our reputations can be ruined by security issues so it's very much in our best interest to worry a great deal about this. By the way, not to imply we're better at that or that bad things don't happen, just that developers are more "power users" when it comes to their systems than, again, many of the larger companies who have had data breaches. Why worry about developers as the problem?
First, let me preface this by saying that I'm a HUGE fan of Techdirt and the writing here. I'm very much inline with about 99% of what you guys write here. Please don't think of me as one of the trolls who usually get beat up.
That said, to be frank, this is crap and FUD of a level I've never witnessed here before. You're pretty much taking worst case scenarios and trying to drum up panic. That's despicable and you should be ashamed.
Now, my background is selling apps too, in a different eco system than Google Play, though it works in much the same way. I write software that is sold on a third party site. I too get customer details (if they exist; with Paypal orders they do not) and, as a developer/business, I find this to be crucial to building a database of customers I can continue to work with and reach out to.
For me, as a business owner, I find this data invaluable. For example, I do like to reach out to customers who returned a product to find out the "why" (I want to improve things and this is sometimes the only way). I have yet, out of a few dozen returns, had anyone *ever* complain or feel this was crossing a line. Your pointing that out as a possible failure point just doesn't jive with my reality. At all.
I find it ridiculous that the store providing customer details to the software creators would be worthy of note much less concern. Building fear, uncertainty, and doubt over this should be an embarrassment to you all.