Google has been tracking and storing the information of all the purchase receipts that its users receive through Gmail. These data have been registered in a Google page called “Purchases”, to which each user has access with their email.
“It is unknown exactly how long this purchase tracking has been active, although until now records have been reported since 2010.”
In addition to documenting purchases made online, Google also stores purchases made in the App Store or PlayStore and that are linked to a Gmail account.
The page also has data of physical purchases made with credit or debit cards and that are associated with an accounting app.
At the moment, it is unknown exactly how long this tracking system has been active. However, until now records have been reported since 2010.
This data can be eliminated individually for each transaction. However, Google does not allow users to delete the purchase without erasing the mail where the receipt is located.
This can be a problem for users who want to save receipts in cases of return or for their accounting, but who, at the same time, do not want their data to be stored.
Coupled with this, in its privacy section, Google stipulates that, even if deleted from the “Purchases” page, the data could be used by other Google products.
In this sense, the company offers the option to delete the purchase data of all Google products through another page called “Activity Controls”. However, when entering this page, there is no option that allows you to control the purchase record.
The absence of control over personal data and the silence of Google about the existence of this tool have generated complaints for violation of user privacy. Especially, since many of these data are often used by Google in the advertising business, where the company is one of the leaders in the market.
In the face of criticism, Google has denied using Gmail information, including stored receipts, to feed its advertising services.
It is true that, in the past, the company has made significant efforts to improve its privacy and data controls, such as, for example, eliminating the search history of some of its platforms.
However, the company must double its efforts and its communication with users so that this kind of tools do not continue to be presented as a violation of the privacy and data security of individuals.