Now, we’re not exactly sure what’s going on here but our inbox is exploding with developer friends who have been receiving emails from what appears to be Google’s legal team via the FBI, notifying them of a subpoena hitting Google. Essentially, it’s Google giving Android developers fair warning that they were forced to give out contact information and saying the FBI may follow up with developers individually as part of a subpoena.
We’ve called the Atlanta FBI and confirmed the E-Mails are 100% legit.
Google has received a subpoena seeking information related to Android applications that may have been made available on alternative markets without the consent of the developer. The subpoena seeks information about those Android applications, including contact information for the developers of the applications. Our records show that your Android developer account will be included in the information Google will provide in response to this subpoena.
Google is not in a position to provide you with legal advice or discuss the substance of the process in our possession. For more information about the subpoena, you may wish to contact the Federal Bureau of Investigation — Atlanta Field Office at (404) 679-9000, reference #2011R00320/FBI/ORKIN.
Google Legal Investigations Support
The representative we spoke with at the Atlanta FBI immediately asked if I was calling in reference to the Google E-Mail after identifying myself as a Phandroid writer. Without reference number, she confirmed the e-mail was real but that Google should not have sent it. Apparently they jumped the gun and she ensured that developers have nothing to worry about. If the FBI determines any of these developers are victims, they may follow up, but she insisted that developers should act as if the E-Mail was never sent in the first place.
We’ll have to wait for an official word from Google regarding the issue before we can cofirm, but we can’t help but wonder if this has something to do with the drama surrounding Google and the rival Aliyun mobile OS giving its users access to a plethora of pirated Google Play apps.
Did Google simply act too fast? Or did they simply think developers deserved to be notified immediately regarding the release of their contact information? Or was there a miscommunication between Google and the FBI?
We can’t be sure until we hear further official word from Google and/or the FBI… but you can be sure that we’ll keep you posted.
Thanks, Anton and everyone who sent this in!