Google Inc. inadvertently provided the personal data of people who bought smartphone applications via its Google Checkout settlement service to app developers.
The information includes customers’ names, phone numbers and home and email addresses.
An official at Google Japan Inc. issued an apology for the leak.
Google had stopped passing on phone numbers by Thursday, the official said, adding the incident was the result of “a system malfunction.”
While it is unclear how long the malfunction continued, it may have impacted application purchasers worldwide.
An Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry official said the ministry is checking the details of the personal data transfers and suggested it could issue a directive to Google if necessary.
The Google Japan official, however, said that certain data, such as email addresses and home addresses modified to remove the most specific identifying elements, would continue to be provided to apps makers because the data “are necessary to enable developers to keep track of customers.”
The Google Checkout service allows users with credit cards to purchase apps for smartphones running Google’s operating system via the online Android Market.