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Google Confirms Android Kill Switch

Gordon Kelly


Google Confirms Android Kill Switch

So Apple got a shoeing when it revealed the iPhone kill switch so it'll be interesting to see what the reaction is now people's champion Google has done the same with Android...

Picked up by ComputerWorld.com, which squinted its way through the small print in Google's Android Market terms of service, is the line:

"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." Helpfully it also states that "reasonable efforts to recover the purchase price of the product ... from the original developer on your behalf."

Ok, let's get this out the way, my opinion is simple and applies to both companies: good.

Why? Well, while it can lead to exploitation it is also overridingly sensible and a vital safeguard for users of either operating system. Example: an app sneaks through which contains malware - Apple or Google need to stamp on this before it has time to spread and you can't wait for owners (especially less technically savvy ones) to pick up on what is going on.

On the other hand, is it Big Brother-ish? Probably, but sometimes that's a necessary evil...


via ComputerWorld.com


October 17, 2008, 1:43 pm

So Google's mission statement/motto should be changed to "do no *unnecessary* evil"? Sounds like the start of a slippery slope to me.


October 17, 2008, 3:30 pm

Everyone complains now but I wonder how many people will continue the argument when (and I say when, not if) a piece of malware reaches hundreds of handsets and Apple/Google save the day with their little switch.


October 17, 2008, 3:56 pm

I totally agree - it'd be far worse not to have some way of stopping a malicious program! People are always going to complain about any form of online policing, but will always be quick to praise the police when they fix something that goes wrong!

gareth 2

October 17, 2008, 5:12 pm

It is going to be hard for Google to srick the balance between security/control and freedom to download open-source aps. Only time will tell.

Francesco Mastellone

October 18, 2008, 1:27 am

I mostly trust Google, and their engagement in free/open software is laudable. This killswitch has the potential to lead to trusted-computing, but today's market is not the same that allowed Microsoft to reach monopoly(especially as people seem to be more savvy about their phones than their computers for some reason), and I doubt it will be used for anything but security.


October 22, 2008, 2:30 am

Big news Android has been released! http://source.android.com/

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