Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 25th Jun 2010 22:56 UTC, submitted by fran
Google While it's currently cool to love Google's Android and hate Apple's iOS, especially because of the massive difference in philosophy (open vs. closed), Google still retains a fair amount of control over the Android Market. This was demonstrated this week Google employed its remote kill switch for two Android Market applications, removing them from all Android devices on which they were installed.
Order by: Score:
Android is open. Market is not.
by pgeorgi on Fri 25th Jun 2010 23:05 UTC
pgeorgi
Member since:
2010-02-18

The market is no open component, so once you buy into that, you essentially left the "open" Android space.

The different to iDevices is that with Android it's possible (though not convenient) to live without the vendor's distribution channel.

Reply Score: 4

mtzmtulivu Member since:
2006-11-14


It certainly is possible to live without the iPhone's vendor distribution channel, but very inconvenient.

can you also mention the legality of possibility? The one way i am aware of of mass distribution of apps outside apple channel involves jailbreaking the phone and that is against apple's terms of iphone usage

Reply Score: 7

Kroc Member since:
2005-11-10

and that is against apple's terms of iphone usage


Oh noes D:

Reply Score: 0

Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

"and that is against apple's terms of iphone usage


Oh noes D:
"
Well, actually, it's a big deal, since it voids the warranty of a €650 device...

(Such manufacturer abilities and abusive terms of use is the kind of thing which made me wipe Chromium out of my computer and go back to Firefox and Opera. Better rely on many small companies that one big corp... Though I still rely on Nokia for my phone...)

Reply Score: 5

Probably good
by Ventajou on Fri 25th Jun 2010 23:38 UTC
Ventajou
Member since:
2006-10-31

I'd say it's only a matter of time until someone disables that killswitch. Since the kind of people who would use that hack are also less likely to be fooled by some malicious app then we will end up with this:

- a small group of people with hacked Android; happy that Google can't mess with their property.
- a large group of people with vanilla systems; happy (or unaware) that Google protects them from bad apps because they don't know (and generally aren't interested in learning) how to distinguish a bad app from a good one.

In the end, you still have a relatively free; yet protected environment. At least until someone writes an Android virus that goes undetected by the killswitch feature; then hopefully Symantec will come up with an antivirus ;-)

Reply Score: 6

The difference being....
by woegjiub on Fri 25th Jun 2010 23:46 UTC
woegjiub
Member since:
2008-11-25

As has already been alluded to, the difference is that if Google do this, one is perfectly free to go online and install the .apk without using the market.

With iOS, one has to either set up a private (<=100 users) app repository, or gaolbreak the iPhone, which voids the warranty.

Because in this case, it was malware, it is acceptable, however I feel that close attention needs to be paid in order to ensure that google do not abuse this power, despite users having the option to install from third party sources.

Reply Score: 8

RE: The difference being.... - warning
by jabbotts on Sun 27th Jun 2010 17:22 UTC in reply to "The difference being...."
jabbotts Member since:
2007-09-06

Did Google deliver a message "application blah installed on your device has been found to do A and B. Google will now remove this program as it has been removed from the app market for being unsafe; allow or deny?"

I'd be ok with that; gives clear explanation why the app is going away and the potential for a user to decline. Now, if Google did it a-la-Amazon secret delete; that's a problem.

Reply Score: 2

Ask first...
by righard on Fri 25th Jun 2010 23:56 UTC
righard
Member since:
2007-12-26

I think it would've been better if Google, instead of a notification supplied a dialog, telling it's adviceable to remove the application, but leaving the ultimate choice too the user.

Edited 2010-06-25 23:56 UTC

Reply Score: 10

RE: Ask first...
by JakeWharton on Tue 29th Jun 2010 11:08 UTC in reply to "Ask first..."
JakeWharton Member since:
2008-10-29

I agree with this. It would be nice if they included a detailed explanation for their intent to remove the application as well on that prompt.

I hope in the future they do they and also add a checkbox in the settings to completely disable the feature but default it to ON.

Reply Score: 1

Comment by SnowBuddha
by SnowBuddha on Fri 25th Jun 2010 23:57 UTC
SnowBuddha
Member since:
2009-04-17

Bleh, don't go answer the phone when adding a comment. woegjiub already said everything I did but much better.

Edited 2010-06-26 00:00 UTC

Reply Score: 1

This Crap Should Be Declared Illegal
by Mapou on Sat 26th Jun 2010 00:20 UTC
Mapou
Member since:
2006-05-09

This conduct is unconstitutional in the US and should be challenged in court as soon as possible. It goes against several laws having to do with privacy and freedom.

Why isn't the ACLU all over this? Are they in bed with Apple or Google? Did they receive huge contributions from those criminals?

This shit must be stopped yesterday.

Reply Score: 0

Vanders Member since:
2005-07-06

This conduct is unconstitutional in the US

Google is not the Government of the United States. Yet.

Reply Score: 2

mtzmtulivu Member since:
2006-11-14

Any user of google distribution channel must accepts the terms of use of the channel and one of the terms say google reserves the right to reach into people's devices and delete any application installed through their channel. Google here is not doing anything a user did not agree too.

Agreeing to an action and then complain when the action occurs doesnt reflect well on the agreer. If the grocery store has a policy of doing just what you have described then you only have yourself to blame if you buy your stuff from them and they come and take them back in the middle of the night.

You may claim ignorance of the policy and i will be with you if the grocery store has the policy in way that is hard to find but if it is right infront of you and you knew about it or you could have known about it with reasonable effort on your part then,you dont have a leg to stand on to complain.

Reply Score: 2

Debaser Member since:
2006-07-20

In this case they went in and took some tainted milk. I personally would rather they notified me of the bad milk instead of taking action without me. This was not a evil act by Google, but it does Infantilize us.

Reply Score: 3

edvim Member since:
2010-03-12

Unconstitutional? Privacy? Freedom? I have to disagree with your rant. There's certainly a bad feeling tied to this matter but smart phones and their related issues can have only the most tenuous links to Constitutional law. And there's been no changes to our Bill of Rights that set clear policy on the privileges of owning a smart phone. (Note: Buying and owning a cell/smart phone is just that, a privilege, not a constitutional right.) If Google had made documented statements that they would never do something like this and then this happened, you'd have something to complain about. But the reality is, if you don't like it then sell your phone, deal with the any cancellation charges (as spelled out to you in the contract), and buy another product from a different manufacturer. That's often referred to as 'voting with your wallet'. If ALL the manufacturer's have policies you dislike, then there's no law you have to own a smart phone.

Reply Score: 2

Lorin Member since:
2010-04-06

Violates US Federal Wiretapping laws, I have won cases like this against other vendors. The phone is your property, and terms associated with the Google store are unenforceable if they seek to circumvent the law.

Reply Score: 1

bousozoku Member since:
2006-01-23

This conduct is unconstitutional in the US and should be challenged in court as soon as possible. It goes against several laws having to do with privacy and freedom.

Why isn't the ACLU all over this? Are they in bed with Apple or Google? Did they receive huge contributions from those criminals?

This shit must be stopped yesterday.


Where have you been living that you think the constitution applies to a legal agreement between two parties in any country?

Next, you're going to tell us that private forums cannot delete or edit your posts because it treads on your freedoms.

When people agree to contracts, they accept the consequences of the agreement, not just what they want to believe it entails.

Reply Score: 3

daedalus8 Member since:
2008-03-10

This conduct is unconstitutional in the US and should be challenged in court as soon as possible. It goes against several laws having to do with privacy and freedom.

Why isn't the ACLU all over this? Are they in bed with Apple or Google? Did they receive huge contributions from those criminals?

This shit must be stopped yesterday.



Right... they didn't ask.. like when your antivirus didn't ask to remove that malicious software that you installed like an idiot when you hit "YES I'M 18" in that Porn site!!!

The software was malicious, I don't see any problem. If the application was legit and it was removed, then it does deserve a legal complaint.

Reply Score: 2

Somebody help me out ...
by WorknMan on Sat 26th Jun 2010 02:27 UTC
WorknMan
Member since:
2005-11-13

First, the blog post says:

Recently, we became aware of two free applications built by a security researcher for research purposes. These applications intentionally misrepresented their purpose in order to encourage user downloads, but they were not designed to be used maliciously, and did not have permission to access private data — or system resources beyond permission.INTERNET.


Then it says:

The remote application removal feature is one of many security controls Android possesses to help protect users from malicious applications. In case of an emergency, a dangerous application could be removed from active circulation in a rapid and scalable manner to prevent further exposure to users.


So they say this 'feature' is to protect users from malicious applications, but they just said two paragraphs up that the apps they nuked were not malicious in nature.

So, what exactly am I missing here?

Reply Score: 3

RE: Somebody help me out ...
by mtzmtulivu on Sat 26th Jun 2010 02:48 UTC in reply to "Somebody help me out ..."
mtzmtulivu Member since:
2006-11-14

The paragraph you quoted said the applications misrepresented their purpose to encourage user download but did not abuse user's privacy. Google seem to take an issue at how they make their way to the distribution channel and to user's devices and not how they run.

dont you find their intentionally misrepresentation malicious?

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: Somebody help me out ...
by ferrels on Tue 29th Jun 2010 23:11 UTC in reply to "RE: Somebody help me out ..."
ferrels Member since:
2006-08-15

Just wait until some malicious hacker learns how to turn on the kill switch to brick all those phones.

Or a malevolent government........

Reply Score: 1

It's official
by Vai777 on Sat 26th Jun 2010 03:46 UTC
Vai777
Member since:
2005-09-02

Google diagnosed with megalomania

Reply Score: 1

Just like Apple
by Moochman on Sat 26th Jun 2010 08:03 UTC
Moochman
Member since:
2005-07-06

Apple has this ability too, except that with Apple there's no way of getting your app back, ever. Just for the record.... So while you're all complaining about Google just keep in mind this is the new "app store" world that Apple has set the precedent for, it's up to us to decide if we like it or not.

Reply Score: 3

Article is missleading
by Auxx on Sat 26th Jun 2010 08:58 UTC
Auxx
Member since:
2007-04-05

1. Market is not a feature of Android. It is installed by oems/operators if they have an agreement with Google. So you're totally responsible for using device with Market - no one forces you.
2. Even if you have Market you can freely opt-out by not agreeing to its terms.
3. Market is only operating while synchronization is turned on.

These points mean that you have TOTAL CONTROL over your Android device. If you choose Market up and running - it is you concise choice.

So stop blaming Google an start reading eulas BEFORE using products and features.

Reply Score: 6

...
by Hiev on Sat 26th Jun 2010 13:27 UTC
Hiev
Member since:
2005-09-27

How come nobody noted this from reading the license? oh, you were all to busy attacking apple.

Reply Score: 1

EULA
by fraterf93 on Sat 26th Jun 2010 17:36 UTC
fraterf93
Member since:
2009-04-23

Why is it acceptable for Google to have a license agreement that limits user control over a device, but wrong for Apple's Mac OS X to have one? Explain.

Reply Score: 1

RE: EULA
by leech on Sun 27th Jun 2010 04:54 UTC in reply to "EULA"
leech Member since:
2006-01-10

Why is it acceptable for Google to have a license agreement that limits user control over a device, but wrong for Apple's Mac OS X to have one? Explain.


It's the nature of EULAs to be not acceptable, even though you're forced to agree / accept it. All the EULAs that I have ever seen basically say;

"You are only licensing this software, you don't own it, if we feel like breaking it so it no longer works, tough crap for you. Thank you for paying us."

That's also why EULAs aren't generally considered legally binding, especially since the majority of them pop up as soon as you start to install the software, and because of the way software authenticates nowadays (mostly CD KEY based) as soon as you open the box, you can't return it. So even if you don't agree to the EULA, you have already spent the money on it and can't return it. So you would be stuck with software that you couldn't use.

Retarded is really the term for it. Gone are the days when you can buy software and actually have it 'belong' to you.

At least in the closed source world. At least with open source projects, even if they want you to pay for them, they will provide source code so you can make your own modifications.

Reply Score: 3

RE: EULA
by Tuxie on Mon 28th Jun 2010 08:37 UTC in reply to "EULA"
Tuxie Member since:
2009-04-22

With Android you can choose to go to another "App Store" and even start your own. With iPhone you're stuck with Apple's one.

Reply Score: 1

Less of the same
by divide_by_zero on Mon 28th Jun 2010 04:06 UTC
divide_by_zero
Member since:
2009-07-11

I think the worse about Apple, considering both the frequency and damage of the act, is when they deny certain applications because "there are already other applications that so the same thing". Until Google avoid doing this, they will be lots of steps below in the evil staircase...

Reply Score: 1

surprised
by DhulKarnain on Mon 28th Jun 2010 06:09 UTC
DhulKarnain
Member since:
2009-11-03

The only thing that surprises me in this case is that something like this hasn't happened sooner.

Android platform has been here for quite some time, and only now an app comes along that does something kinda naughty?
Hmmm...

Those Android app devs must be the most honest folks around.

Reply Score: 1

Comment by stanbr
by stanbr on Mon 28th Jun 2010 11:44 UTC
stanbr
Member since:
2009-05-22

1-) Nobody said you must use android market. You can install applications using some other way. I guess you could even create your own store
2-) It works very similar to apt-get. They can install any new version, change all my configurations, remove softwares, on a simple apt-get dist-upgrade. And nobody says it's a bad thing (because it's not!). So I see no problems with it.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Comment by stanbr
by darknexus on Mon 28th Jun 2010 13:33 UTC in reply to "Comment by stanbr"
darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

2-) It works very similar to apt-get. They can install any new version, change all my configurations, remove softwares, on a simple apt-get dist-upgrade. And nobody says it's a bad thing (because it's not!). So I see no problems with it.


Except that with an apt-get, you can look over what is going to happen and choose whether you want it to or not. Sometimes I really believe people don't *think* before making comparisons like this.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by stanbr
by stanbr on Tue 29th Jun 2010 11:12 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by stanbr"
stanbr Member since:
2009-05-22

Keep in mind this system was designed to kill iphone... it should be very user friendly and easy to use (eg. your mother should be able to use it with no problems). I don't know exactly how the system behavior is right now, and I agree it could give the user an alert, but it should be very straightforward. And if the app does not do what it should do in the first place (and as they say, it was pretty much useless) I see no problems here, well, unless you are a paranoid of course.

Reply Score: 1

The solution is ASKING the user
by man-in-the-middle on Mon 28th Jun 2010 21:32 UTC
man-in-the-middle
Member since:
2010-06-28

I believe this story IS scary, and even more scary is the fact that too little is happening to take this power from the companies, at least with legislation. If Google/Amazon/Apple want to do a protective service for their users, they could advise them about potential dangers, offering the choice to have the apps deleted - but LEAVING the final decision to the user.

I believe that there is a fundamental question about property (of the device and of the copies of the products bought/downloaded) which poses itself here. More than one western democracy (the American among others!) is very much based on respect of property and of privacy. We can not let these things happen! We need to get out laws and rules limiting this kind of action. In my opinion.

Regards

Reply Score: 1

Re:Google Android
by angel.anderson01 on Mon 28th Jun 2010 21:40 UTC
angel.anderson01
Member since:
2010-06-22

Well Google Android is a software stack for mobile devices that includes an operating system, middleware, and key applications. The Android SDK provides the tools and libraries necessary to begin developing applications that run on Android-powered devices.It revollutionary.

All The Best!!!!!

Reply Score: 1

Double standards
by moondino on Wed 30th Jun 2010 00:46 UTC
moondino
Member since:
2010-03-27

Why do people defend Google in this situation?

If Apple did this, some of you would be all over it.

There should be a setting, defaulted to ON, that can be changed to PROMPT or OFF for any remote application uninstall.

Imagine if someone keys in the wrong command and wipes all purchased apps from your phone? Or accidentally flags all apps as malicious? Even if it isn't "evil", systems and the people operating them make mistakes.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Double standards
by Neolander on Wed 30th Jun 2010 09:15 UTC in reply to "Double standards"
Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

If Apple did this, some of you would be all over it

And some would advocate it too, explaining how great it is for security with lots of buzzwords like "techie just can't understand" or "curated app distribution model".

I really don't think that there's a double standard. From an exterior point of view (I despise the entire current touchscreen smartphone market), both platforms have their unilateral-thinking advocates who will unconsciously find everything Google/Apple does marvelous, no matter how objectively horrible it is.

For Apple, this can be explained because the brand has traditionally pictured itself as thinking differently and knowing better than the other, and hence logically got the "I'm-a-genius-nobody-understands-me" kind of people among their supporters. For Google, the phenomenon is more difficult to analyze, but I think that's because they're generally doing great and display it prominently, while knowing to hide their bad actions pretty well.

Edited 2010-06-30 09:18 UTC

Reply Score: 2