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Petitioning Google

Remove the need for developers to reveal their physical addresses publicly on Google Play

Google has come up with an obnoxious new policy, which makes it mandatory for all developers with apps that contain in-app purchases (IAPs) and/or paid apps to provide a physical address to, in Google's words, "comply with consumer protection laws". This will take effect from 30 September 2014. Developers will have to comply within 30 days of being notified by Google in the Developer Console, or else they may face punitive measures, including the removal of their apps from the Google Play Store.

Why does this matter? For bigger developers (e.g. Rovio), they will have absolutely no problems complying with the new policy, as these developers already have an office to work in. Other smaller developers that have their own offices to work on their apps will also not have an issue. However, there are a group of developers - indie developers - that work from home, producing awesome apps and games from their house to the Google Play Store so that we can enjoy them. Google's new policy will essentially require these developers to show their home address publicly on Google Play for everyone to see. Furthermore, a PO Box address is not allowed as Google explicitly mentions a physical address is required.

Granted, the apps of these indie developers either include IAPs or are paid. However, some of the great apps and games published by indie developers are paid apps (since they have to earn a living too), and the only way a developer can prevent themselves from being a victim of this new policy, while still being able to monetize his/her app in some form, is to only display advertisements.

Sure, some naysayers may say that it protects consumer rights, is more transparent, makes developers more accountable for potential 'spam' apps and et cetera, but what good does providing a physical address do for the consumer in Google Play? Is one going to go to the developer's home if the app doesn't work as it should and pester the developer to update the app so that the consumer's money is protected? Or are people going to harass the residence of a 'developer' of a spam app and take extreme measures to force the 'developer' to remove the app and refund all the people who bought the spam app? Not to mention the privacy concerns of revealing where you live!

Do the indie developers not deserve their own rights, just like consumers? Does revealing a developer's address, be it home or office, really necessary for the so-called protection of consumer rights? How will this lead to any benefit for the consumer? Or is it only a slap in the face of indie developers?

I do not understand the motif behind this change. If an app has some problems or is straight up spam, consumers may opt to inform the developer or Google of this through the Google Play Store, which is the easiest channel for consumers.

To be clear, I am not an app developer myself. However, as a consumer and an Android user, I want to encourage the openness and innovation that Android, as a whole, has achieved and encapsulated. And the Google Play Store and its apps are a huge part of it. Indie developers provide us their creative idelogy that spices up the experience of Android through apps, amidst the repetitive list of apps and games from more mainstream and larger developers. Sign this petition to show that you appreciate and care about the work, effort and talent of indie developers in Android and Google Play. Thank you.

Sources & References: http://www.androidauthority.com/google-forcing-developers-to-publish-home-addresses-527772/, http://www.androidpolice.com/2014/09/18/google-will-now-require-all-app-publishers-with-paid-apps-or-in-app-purchases-to-have-an-address-on-file-in-google-play/http://www.droidforums.net/threads/indie-developers-outraged-as-google-requires-a-published-physical-address-on-play-store.274227/

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    Lawrence Lim started this petition with a single signature, and now has 661 supporters. Start a petition today to change something you care about.