Google Hits Remote Kill Switch for Two Android Apps

A quick look in the Android Market sometimes makes me wonder whether Google just lets developers go willy nilly on what apps they can create and submit. While Android now has over 50,000 applications, there are so many that seem entirely pointless and it makes it hard when I’m just browsing for cool apps. Although many of the apps don’t seem to be worth a second look, most of them are harmless – until now.

Google recently discovered that two applications in the Android Market violated its Developer Distribution Agreement or Content Policy. The software giant says this about the incident:

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. As the applications were practically useless, most users uninstalled the applications shortly after downloading them.

On the bright side, it appears that no one’s private information was compromised or exploited. On the other hand, it does show that perhaps Apple’s approval method for its own app store, hated by so many developers and users, might be a decent implementation after all. It’s hard to imagine that an application like this would have made it onto the iTunes app store. At any rate, Google decided to exercise its power of remote killing the application in question from devices that had the culprit apps installed.

[Via: Android Dev Blog]

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