Tarun Reflex

October 17, 2008

Google Loaded Android With A Remote Kill Switch

This isn’t going to make people happy. Remember the furor when people discovered that Apple could remotely kill applications running on iPhones? Well, Google has decided to implement the same type of action. It can remove programs it deems “bad” from your HTC G1.

Now that reviews of the G1 are hitting the Web, we’re quickly going to know everything there is to know about the Android platform. ComputerWorld is reporting one interesting finding concerning a kill switch built into Android.
It says:

In the Android Market terms of service, Google expressly says that it might remotely remove an application from user phones. “Google may discover a product that violates the developer distribution agreement … in such an instance, Google retains the right to remotely remove those applications from your device at its sole discretion,” the terms, linked to from the phone, read.

Unlike Apple, Google isn’t going to be policing the Android Market with an iron fist. It claims the market will be open, that it won’t reject applications, and that anyone can submit apps for Android. That all sounds great. But what happens when someone posts a malicious application designed to compromise the security of an Android phone? Since Google isn’t vetting the apps, that can be bad news for the end users.
Similar to Apple CEO Steve Jobs’ philosophy on the matter, if and when a program is discovered that breaks the rules, Google wants to be able to pull the plug on that program. Most of the time, this will likely be to the benefit of the end user, who otherwise may wind up with a bricked Android. That’s not going to stop people from wondering about Google’s real intents or purposes behind the clause in the Android Market’s terms of service.

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