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Thursday, 16 May 2019 07:58

Surprise, surprise: Google Pay hides privacy settings from users Featured

Surprise, surprise: Google Pay hides privacy settings from users Image by Photo Mix from Pixabay

Google has been caught out hiding privacy settings in its Google Pay app that can restrict what information the company collects about users. Three settings are all selected and only accessible via a special URL and not through the settings link of the app.

The subterfuge was spotted by a Reddit user who posted links to the page that determined what Google could collect.

Last week, iTWire criticised Google chief executive Sundar Pichai for writing an op-ed about privacy in which most of the statements were false.

gpay settings

The standard settings that are visible to everyone in the Google Pay app.

The three settings offer options on allowing Google Pay to share account and personal information and also details of the user's credit-worthiness.

The text for these settings reads as under:

  • "Allow Google Payment Corporation to share third party creditworthiness information about you with other companies owned and controlled by Google LLC for their everyday business purposes.
  • "Allow your personal information to be used by other companies owned and controlled by Google LLC to market to you. Opting out here does not impact whether other companies owned and controlled by Google LLC can market to you based on information you provide to them outside of Google Payment Corporation.
  • "Allow Google LLC or its affiliates to inform a third party merchant, whose site or app you visit, whether you have a Google Payments account that can be used for payment to that merchant. Opting out may impact your ability to use Google Payments to transact with certain third party merchants."
  • All three are selected by default. One can only access them through an URL that is not anywhere to be seen on the Google Pay app.

The Reddit user who discovered this, listed this URL as the one through which one could deselect these settings.


The one hidden setting that remains.

The website Bleeping Computer was the first to write about this but after it contacted Google for comment, it looks like two of the settings have been hidden, with only the middle one now visible.

Contacted for comment, a Google spokesperson said: "All users are currently able to access these privacy settings via the ‘Google Payments privacy settings page’ link in the Google Pay privacy notice.

"The different settings views described here are an issue resulting from a previous software update and we are working to fix this right away so that these privacy settings are always visible on”


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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.



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