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Google shares details of purchasers on Google Play with developers - and then muscles journalists who report the privacy breach to tone down their stories.

Every purchase made on Google Play, the store on the Android platform, results in the email address, neighbourhood and name of the purchaser being sent to the developer of the purchased application.

The sharing of customers' details is not outlined in either the terms of service on Google Play or in the company's privacy statement, according to AppleInsider.

The discovery was originally made by Australian software developer Dan Nolan who posted about it in his blog.

News Limited reported the issue, but was then asked by Google to tone down its headline; the original headline read ""Massive Google security flaw puts users' details on display for all to find." This was toned down to "Google 'flaw' puts users' details on display." The original headline is visible in the URL.

Nolan is the creator of the Paul Keating insult generator application; he discovered the fact that details are leaked when he logged in to make some changes to his account after he had released a version of the app for the Android platform.

What happens if these details are stolen via a malware attack on some developers' machine? Will Google take responsibility? Or will it still claim to be a company that does no evil?

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Sam Varghese

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A professional journalist with decades of experience, Sam for nine years used DOS and then Windows, which led him to start experimenting with GNU/Linux in 1998. Since then he has written widely about the use of both free and open source software, and the people behind the code. His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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