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Microsoft takes new 'Scroogled' shot at Google

Gregg Keizer | April 10, 2013
Plays off February reports that Google collects personal information from app buyers, shares with developers


Microsoft's latest "Scroogled" attack campaign calls out Google for collecting personal information from app buyers, then sharing it with developers without getting explicit approval from customers. (Image: Microsoft.)

According to the date on the Google Wallet privacy statement, the search giant has been collecting personal information and sharing it with developers since at least Aug. 2012.

When asked for comment, Google defended the practice by pointing to the Wallet's terms: "Google Wallet shares the information needed to process transactions and maintain accounts, and this is clearly stated in the Google Wallet Privacy Notice," a company spokeswoman said in an email.

Few people, however, bother to read such terms.

Unlike Apple's iOS App Store or Microsoft's Windows Phone Store, where transactions are directly processed by Apple and Microsoft, respectively, Google Play relies on a direct app developer-to-customer model. Others have likened Google's approach to that of the eBay auction website, where sellers and buyers connect directly using PayPal to process a purchase.

But Consumer Watchdog wasn't buying it.

"This exception is not even referenced in the Google Play privacy policy," the group told the FTC two months ago. "Even assuming it applies to Google Play transactions, it does not justify Google's sharing of user information with developers. Simply put, the shared information is not 'necessary' to process user transactions. As various press reports indicate, user transactions are routinely processed without developers even being aware of their access to user information, much less needing it."

The Scroogled relaunch was not the only attack Google faced this week. On Monday, FairSearch.org, a trade group that one expert called "Microsoft's Trojan Horse," filed a complaint with European antitrust regulators accusing Google of abusing Android's smartphone market dominance to stifle competition.

 

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