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Google has Your Back, Can Remotely Remove Android Apps

Just so you know, Google has the power to remotely access your phone whenever they need to.  Don’t freak out.  It’s a good thing.  They were recently made aware of a couple of applications released onto the market that were being using for security testing purposes and to protect all of the users who had downloaded these apps, Google stepped up and manually removed them…

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.

After the researcher voluntarily removed these applications from Android Market, we decided to exercise our remote application removal feature on the remaining installed copies to complete the cleanup.

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. While we hope to not have to use it, we know that we have the capability to take swift action on behalf of users’ safety when needed.

Like they said, it’s nice to know they have the capability should they ever need to use it.  Thoughts?

Source: Android Developers Blog

  • I have a rooted phone and am running a non-Google flavour of Android 2.1, can Google still do this to my phone or not?

  • Google has reached out over the airwaves and removed a pair of applications from users' Android phones, saying the two apps violated its terms of service.Well thanks for sharing with us…

  • So can I use it to recover my lost cell phone too?

  • WOW its' horrible, I have heard that there is a app that can remove any app remotely.

  • Joeppie

    This is absolutely terrifying. Power inevitably corrupts, over time.
    How long before Google goes rotten, from power such as this?- or maybe is forced to use it for evil like by by a law agency?

  • Joeppie

    This is absolutely terrifying. Power inevitably corrupts, over time.
    How long before Google goes rotten, from power such as this?- or maybe is forced to use it for evil like by by a law agency?

  • MIKE27192

    Thanks to Google for keeping an eye on the domain of wireless communications. OTA vrrus transferance was an issue I hoped someone thought about to protect the average consumer. I'm glad you did. THANK YOU.

  • Content in cynicism

    It appears some of you feel that if they are aware of malicious software and you want to keep it even if it endangers other uses it is your right. Interesting. I suppose they shouldn't make security patches and push them out. I mean what if I wanted that security hole? I liked it! We had a close relationship. Come on there has to be a middle ground, if you want full control build it yourself and have it put on the market otherwise it is your responsiblity as a user to aware of what the company is doing just the same as it is the responsibility of a citizen to know what their government is doing.

  • Stmwald

    Holy computer Batman. Is the next step to force me to update my applications even though I don't want to, I'm fine using the older one. Seems control is not only an Apple thing. OK Google is your next thing to have the phone scan me and make sure I'm wearing my bike helmet or else you won't work. GOOGLE is the solution for driving and texting on your phone issue, if the GPS shows you moving then it disables the phone.

    Yes I see how it's meant to protect me, lets get some anti-virus company for the Android instead. Sorry but this seems a little too much Orwell 1984 for my liking.

  • StephanC

    While this proves to be helpful now, I can see carriers using this in the future to remove apps like pdanet or other tethering apps.

  • Rogue5

    This could be dangerous if someone else get there hands on it, I hope google has a plan for that.

  • Steroidfootball

    We were all presented the choice, Apple or Google, and I assume most of us picked Google. We can moan about how Google is all powerful, but it is still not like Apple.

    I much rather let Google have that ability to remotely remove apps and such rather than having tens of thousands apps denied like Apple does, I'm not sure about you guys but I like apps that let me download music for free.

    If this bothers anyone enough you should get the iPhone4 and then proceed to get a $30.00 case for it because holding the iPhone4 in your hand causes the signal to drop completely because the antenna is on the outside of the phone because it there was no room for it within the phone.

    Google comes out in the open and tells you there is a problem and what they're doing or will do in the future to fix it, Apple on the other hand keeps everything under wraps and their customer support reps tell you that your iPhone4 losing the signal is “not their problem,” and their CEO, Steve Jobs, responds to an email telling a person “don't hold your phone that way.”

    Be happy that we have Google Android powered phones and are not subject by the disgusting business tactics of Apple.

  • Rusty Shackleford

    Good to know Big Brother is watching.

  • anon

    Still just a little creepy that Google has that kind of access to my phone. I'm sure that their ability to get into my phone doesn't stop there.

  • jawa5636

    I am sure it's all in the small print agreements we all agree and sign/check when buying/activating our phones.

  • Flyinion

    Someone needs to turn the droid with the red eyes in that pic into a LWP with glowing red eyes 🙂

  • b00ky

    Sorry I didn't comment sooner. I tried to access droid-life.com on my phone…but it had been removed from the Internet by Google. Weird.

    • Tom

      I wish there was a “dislike” button for comments like this.

      • b00ky

        I guess they left that out along with your sense of humor. What a shame.

  • Tom

    First off, you people are all PARANOID! So let's review what people have the ability to do without you knowing that is similar to this. The government can tap into your calls and text messages whenever they want… Google logs and has access to all your personal info, and can use it as they see fit… Your position is constantly monitored by use of cell phones and credit cards…. I mean… we have no privacy as it is… So what if Google can delete a malicious app from our cell phone? As long as Google continues to act in the interests of their consumers I see no problem with this. Some people are too stupid to remove an app on their phone when they are told it is bad. Or it may be blocked from user end, and Google might be able to circumvent that. Take this in stride and stop being so paranoid.

  • John L.

    This feature is awesome, when they activate it, Everyone's DROID starts to glow red, and make that BSG Cylon eyeball noise and walks around on its own , and proceeds to kick the nearest iPhone user in the nads.
    I think they should use this feature more often.
    DROID DOES !!!!

  • neo1738

    they can keep everything they have setup the same and just give users a chance to “opt in” or “opt out” of application monitoring.

  • Rodeojones000

    It's a good idea, as long as they only do this to remove “malicious” apps. Anything beyond this and we're venturing into Apple/Big Brother territory.

  • djenks24

    I wonder how they “became aware”?

    • A ton of people uninstalling the app saying “it's defective” or “malicious” they have those uninstall codes for a reason.

  • I would much rather them put a message on my phone that pops up and says “application X is known to be malicious. Please click OK to remove it.” and have the user do it, not Google.

    • I agree to this as well. Not sure how the logistics would work though. Users should have the control, but until this is implemented, the typical users doesn't know enough about android (or about news sites that talk android) to discover on their own that the software is bad.

      It's an imperfect solution, but it's a lot better than having someone trick the market, have the app removed, but not before potentially thousands of people are exposed and left with a malicious code that they don't even know is dangerous until they lose some of their data. Who do you think will be sued? Google, even though it wasn't their fault, they gave the consumer choice.

  • Neo

    Thats TWO year old news!

  • A very valid point here.

  • Sometimes when I read this Droid Life blog, I shake my head at some of the comments. It's one thing to love your phone and the community. It's another thing altogether when Droid/Android/Google can do no wrong.

    Hell, they could announce that they read your e-mails and texts now and then and pass it off as “for your own good” and some readers on here would slurp that kool-aid right up and nod away.

    Wake the 'F' up! They have remote control of your feckin' phone! That's SERIOUS stuff.

    I can't believe the Android/Droid love-fest on here sometimes to the point where it trounces rational thinking.

    I don't need Google to tell me what's best for me. I find this to be an out-rage and I'm going to seriously consider my feelings on using Android.

    Google has been in the mainstream press regarding privacy issues before (Google Maps mobile vehicles collecting private Wi-Fi data, anyone?) so this doesn't surprise me.

    This is a serious issue.

    M.

    • Darkcomartist

      I can only speak for myself but it's not that “Google can do no wrong”. Tons of people from tons of companies have access to our personal info. Verizon and most of it's employees, government employees, credit agencies, places where you applied for credit, DMV (if in California) and the list goes on and on. To my knowledge, google hasn't screwed me yet so I have no reason to freak out. Any one of the forementioned companies or entities has the ability to screw us ROYALLY but it hasn't happen (to me at least). If google was the only company that had that kind of access then yeah, I would be the 1st one knocking police cars over and setting them on fire, but that's not the case. It's cool that you're concerned about the amount of access people have to your private info but I don't think this calls for boycotts or riots…. again, not yet.

    • All major OS's feature a remote wipe capability. Google has NEVER tried hiding the fact that they had this capability, and they publicly admit whenever they use it.

      And as for wifi data, if you're concerned about privacy, you have a password on your router, meaning google's trucks would get NOTHING. Not to mention that they grounded their fleet when they found out about the collection and purged them to make sure none of the data was uploaded.

      Yes, google has access to my data, yes, they have a TON of it. And they've done… what? with it? Compare that to Facebook (that admits it sells personal, non-anonymous user data) or the hundreds of other companies that do the same. If you're online, the question isn't “should I share information.” it's “who do I share information with.” Google has proven to be a great steward of the information it has so far, better than anyone else. So I trust them. The minute they betray that trust I'm gone. But until then, paranoid slippery slope arguments like “OMG, GOOGLE HAS INFORMATION THEY”RE EVIL!!” will get no one anywhere.

      Google is fighting to get Due Process to cover electronic data to make your information MORE secure. How many other companies are doing that?

      Where would you go if you drop android? Apple? They have the same capability, but they didn't ADMIT to it until someone else found it out. Windows? the same. (Windows OS has built in back doors to allow Homeland security access to your computer). The only way your phone is safe is if it's not connected to the net, and then it becomes a shell of what it's capable of.

      • Darkcomartist

        Amen. Excellent information you provided. If I didn't already feel the same as you, I would have seen the light. Well done.

      • “And as for wifi data, if you're concerned about privacy, you have a password on your router, meaning google's trucks would get NOTHING.”

        Dude the quote above shows that you're just trying to defend Google at all costs. Why the feck should I have to protect my data from Google's war-driving employees? A legitimate company shouldn't be war-driving.

        You're missing the point here, though. Step away from your Google shrine and think about the following:

        Why should I trust a company in blind faith that has shown it has done some sketchy things with my data in the past? They were war-driving residential neighborhoods, amongst other places! Some rogue engineer developed all of that on his own and the higher ups didn't know about it? Are you serious?

        Let me give you a hint: Three of my best friends are WireShark, ettercap and BackTrack 4. You're not talking to someone who's new to the game.

        M.

        • You're NOT protecting your data from war driving google employees, you're protecting your data from war drivers,and from people trying to steal your information for malicious purposes.

          The fact that Google got the info from a passive scan is sobering because of how easy it is.

          If I sunbathed nude in my yard and a google camera caught, it, I can't be mad because of my privacy being violated by Google. I was leaving myself exposed (literally) to anyone looking in my yard. Google just HAPPENED to be the people who saw it instead of someone more insidious. THAT'S the difference here.

          Protecting your data is smart to do PERIOD. you protect your router to slow down hackers, it has the side benefit of blocking the google vans, NOT the other way around.

          Take of your tin foil had “shrine” for a moment and think about it. the data was freely available, google caught it because people weren't doing anything to actively (or passively) protect their data from ANY scanners.

          Should the vans have that capability? no. But atm, we don't know WHY they did, WHAT they were using the info for, or if it was intentional. In fact, as soon as it was pointed out, they came clean with what happened, grounded the entire fleet and stopped all data collection.

          Again, being paranoid about big bad companies helps NO ONE if you miss the big picture. The data wasn't safe, ANYONE could get it. THAT is the biggest issue here. Google got the information, yes. WHAT did they do with it? In fact, when have they sold personal, non anonymous data to someone? Google should be watched, but flying off the handle because they picked up SOMEONE ELSE'S MISTAKE is a witch hunt, nothing more.

          Google, as far as we know WASN'T wardriving. They claim that they didn't know the collection was happening, and NO EVIDENCE points otherwise, nor is there any evidence they were intending to do anything but delete the data. Claiming their guilty just because they COULD do something makes about as much sense as me saying you're obviously a malicious hacker because you know what wardriving is.

          I don't worship google, I just don't get all paranoid about a company collecting data when they've given me NO reason to distrust them when all of their alternatives have, and they provide simple ways to delete all information they have on me and to block all further collection of it.

        • Jai Taigas

          I normally wouldn't respond to this sort of thing, but just because he is defending Google on this issue doesn't automatically make him a devote worshiper of Google. As you so put it. From the articles I have read on your issue, the data they gathered only came from unprotected wifi networks. And it was an unintended result to boot. It still comes down to this fact. Those that password protected their wifi didn't have any data picked up. I have been “in this game” since the 28.8k modems, and guess what. I password protect my wifi.
          Also, from what I have read, Google has destroyed the data they acquired from the unprotected wifi, and the huge issue at hand was the data itself. Here's what is normally not mentioned. From the various places they got the data. The government wants the data, so they can go through it for “illegal” practices the owners of said data could be doing. And Google is refusing to give out that data, and is saying they have either already destroyed or plan to destroy that data.
          Secondly, Google is a company that runs it's entire business on information and ads. Getting paranoid about them and their knowledge, is like getting pissed off at an accountant for their access to financial statements of a company they work for. It's their job! If you honestly feel this uncomfortable about people getting your information, dispite the “experience” you try to say you have in this “game” I advise you to avoid search engines all together. Every search engine out there tracks your ip address and links it up with your searches. Google is just the first company to openly admit it.

  • dylan84

    You know, normally something like that would seem pretty “evil”…but Google isnt a company like that at all. I'm glad that they have the capability to protect their users like that.

  • Darkcomartist

    If google really was the kind of company that would do something “evil” with their access to our phones I think they would try to remove our root access 1st. Making it hard to root is one thing, actually going in the phone and removing root is something more sinister I don't believe Google would do even if it had the ability to do such a thing. I'm “OK” with this in my opinion. No need riot………..yet.

    • Not to mention that google really does nothing to block rooting (their dev phones are very easy to root). It's handset makers that make all the security measures.

      • brandonmee

        Google actually embraces the ideas of rooting. They have been noted publicly when asked about items not working in their operating system yet as to saying” hopefully the nice dev community can figure it out.” They are supporting it. Plus if Google was sinister they would not have pulled out of China, when they hacked their servers they would have retaliated.

  • Stephen

    I'm glad they do this. Apple controls their app store, which keeps malicious items out. But Google doesn't. If someone were to put malicious apps in the marketplace, it's good to know that Google has our backs and can remove them. They can keep the apps safe without needing to approve it and everything like Apple. If they start removing our root apps(which I don't think they'll do, Android is open source after all), then my opinions will change.

  • jawa5636

    When did mods here start having to approve our comments?

    • jawa5636

      Wait, why was this posted and not my other “opinion” post? It had to be approved. Some key word I typed?

      • Chris Nimon

        Ive had the problem before also but it was not the mods here, it was certain words thats disqus had to approve.

        • jawa5636

          Oh. I think I used the word s**t in there. Whatev…

          • Chris Nimon

            thats why I use $hit or Fu(k

  • Ninjah

    I was hoping it was something like Google giving us the ability to uninstall/remove apps directly from our google account?

  • MrChips

    We need to be careful of semantics here. This post makes it sound like google can “remote into your device” which implies active outside connection from google to your device without your knowledge.

    The actual situation looks to be slightly little less scary. It looks like this “app removal” functionality is encapsulated in the Marketplace application. This feature seems to be part of the “check for updates” process in that app. It looks like the app checks for updates, gets a message that a particular app needs removal, notifies the user that this is going to happen (no opt-out), and nukes the app. Further research is necessary to validate this though.

    The jury is also still out on whether this process can nuke non-marketplace applications. Technically all that the Android OS would need to know is the application naming/manifest info to match up against in order to know if an app is on your device. If Google wrote this truly to help protect Android users from bad apps, then I believe the would not hobble the ability to remove non-marketplace applications since that is a likely attack vector for malware.

    • Darkcomartist

      I agree. I don't think they can get into my phone and start causing mayhem, calling ex-girlfriends on my behalf, or anything of the sort. The ability for TONS of people to screw is royally is there, that doesn't mean that they have or plan on doing it. It's like having your apartment manager having a master key to your place. It might be a little scary thinking of what they COULD do (go in while you're out, steal your stuff, pee on the toilet seat, etc.) but millions of people have never had that problem. Rather than worry about the company I would worry about that sick individual who has access to that and tries to do something with it but big companies like Google tend to have some kind of security protocol to prevent those incidents. In short (too late?) don't worry about what COULD happen if they were the devil incarnate which 9 out of 10 times it doesn't happen (unless we're talking about Apple). Those are my 2 cents…. more like $7.50 actually.

      • briderx

        As long as Google isn't peeing on my toilet seat, I am good. Now, peeing on apple? I am in favor of that..

      • You make good points, but I don't understand the anti-Apple part? Where has Apple done anything regarding privacy violations?

        A big stink was made regarding Google Maps' vehicles that were collecting WiFi data/traffic. Why isn't anyone jumping on that?

        M.

        • Darkcomartist

          In my part it's not that I hate Apple as much as see them as the Celtics to my Lakers. All in good fun.

        • Because they didn't DO anything with that data, they wanted to purge it as soon as they found out, and the only data collected was from the people STUPID enough to leave their routers unprotected (meaning people a lot nastier than Google had access to that data)

          • How do you know, Jason? Are you a Google employee or a blow-hard fan-boi? How do you know what goes on other than what is posted in the public press?

            The average home user in a residential neighborhood has no idea what WPA2 is. Say it with me: 'RESIDENTIAL NEIGHBORHOOD'. That means moms, dads and kids. Not all of them run the latest Ubuntu or get a hard-on by typing “uptime” at the bash prompt. Get it? Nor is Al Qaeda next door trying to crack their WEP/WPA keys. They shouldn't have to run a RADIUS server.

            This is the problem with fan-bois. They assume everyone is like them – trolling on Ars Technica to find someone to argue with or get “FIRST POST!” And if people aren't, the fan-bois label them 'stupid'.

            This is a CONSUMER PHONE. Period. You can bet EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation in case you can't be bothered from trolling Slashdot) and privacy advocates are going to be all over this.

            I apologize for any animosity that comes out of this post, but I absolutely hate it when someone tries to act smart and bad-ass and labels everyday consumers as “stupid” because they have more to their lives than to sit and play on Linux all day.

            M.

          • How do you know they're using it for malicious purposes? I am assuming innocent until proven guilty, you are assuming that they are guilty, aka “if she's not a witch, she won't float.” Which is a more rational position? Which would you want others to take if it was you under suspicion? Do you have PROOF that google is malicious with their data collection, or are you just saying that because they HAVE data, they must be evil?

            EVERY router has in BIG BOLD FONT about the importance of protecting your network. It's part of every setup function (as in, it's one of the basic steps). On top of that, data security is in the news at LEAST once a week because it's so good at getting people to watch the shows.

            My dad knows nothing about linux, or how wpa2 works, or wep or anything else. And yet he installed a password on his router because the set up program TOLD him to. (I was 12 hours away at the time, and didn't even know he was doing this.)

            On top of that, most routers in residential neighborhoods are installed by comcast/verizon/local ISP techs that set up passwords as a DEFAULT without even giving the consumer an option. So yes, it is a reasonable expectation to expect people to have their routers protected SPECIFICALLY if they know nothing about technology because chances are they had a tech install it, or followed the directions that came with the box, BOTH things lead to password protection.

            So yes, if a customer doesn't have their router protected they were either stupid and didn't read the instructions or they were stupid and ACTIVELY selected not to protect their router.

            I don't play on linux. the closest I get to it is my phone. Most of my experience is with windows and apple which is why I know that security is the DEFAULT not something you have to choose to implement.

          • Explain to everyone how your e-mail got hacked? Did you click on “Free Google Fan Boi Ringtones!” link? Either way, you trusted something you shouldn't have.

            That alone discredits most of what you've been saying.

            In IT, you do not give system or network privileges unless there is a bona fide reason to do so. That is based upon the universal IT policy that you don't open ports, services or give access or trust anything unless it's absolutely necessary.

            You're spewing FUD that directly contradicts that mind-set.

            Oh, BTW, you work retail in a Verizon store.

            M.

          • oh btw, I don't. I never had. I worked for a premium retailer, and I haven't for months. On top of that, as a retailer, I know EXACTLY how much information big companies like that have on consumers, and all of the safety measure they have in place to prevent abuse. if anything, that validates my points.

            And you're just proving my point. The data you are pulling up and waving around you got because I was STUPID and didn't protect it (and because facebook changes their privacy settings every month).

            You want to know how my email was hacked? I was an idiot and used the same password for my email and for my battle.net account. I logged into my bnet account from a friends computer to show him some stuff and he had a key logger. The key logger hacked my bnet account and after I got that frozen they went after my email, I made it to easy for them.

            The fact that you have to resort to personal attacks to justify your position shows that your position has nothing worth standing on. Maybe you should grow up and stop trying to act like the school yard bully, because that's what you're painting yourself as.

          • On top of that, Facebook is an OPT IN security, meaning as a default, MOST of your information is shared (and that amount is increased with every major revision) You have to manually CHOOSE to block that collection.

            With wifi routers, you have to CHOOSE to ignore the warnings, built in steps, advice from your ISP to install a router WITHOUT a password. This means that the security feature is an Opt out of one, meaning as a default (you do what is “recommended”) your information would've been safe from the google scans.

          • BTW: Jason, according to your Facebook page on June 20th your e-mail address was hacked and you warned friends not to open any e-mails from you with specific subject lines. Does this mean you're stupid for getting your e-mail hacked?

            Sounds like you should stop being so trustful of everyone and everything….

            Feel free to keep drinking the Kool-Aid.

            M.

          • yes, my email was hacked, and I was stupid because I used the same password as another account which was hacked (using a virus that was on a friends computer that I logged into). It was MY FAULT I was hacked, and it's my responsibility to take steps against it.

            There is a huge difference between drinking the kool aid and wearing a tinfoil hat

          • I'm not drinking koolaid, I just don't assume that everyone is guilty until I have reason to believe otherwise.

            You're posting on a forum, you've posted enough information that if people wanted to, they could track you down. Does this mean you should live in fear just because it COULD happen?

    • No offense, I hope you are correct on how it works, but how did you come across that knowledge on how it removes the apps. Do you have a link? I would be interested in reading up on how this works.

      Thanks!

  • Static_prone

    Overall i dont care that google has this power. If they have issues with an app then great if they remove it, really if an app is going to be malicious or misleading on what it does, any of us a probably going to uninstall it anyway, but i see this as a good way to govern the market without have the submission and approval process that apple has.

  • hmmmmm….

  • ericsorensen

    No problem here. Nothing wrong with free virus protection.

    What about all those transcribed voicemails and voice searches – I bet those are saved. Along with everything else on your phone that touches the cloud – it's all available to Google. If you don't trust them then you better use a payphone instead – if you can find one.

    • Darkcomartist

      True. While we're all worried about the kind of info google has access to why not worried about Verizon or any other phone company having access our voicemails, who we talk to, for how long, etc? I don't think there's anything to worry about.

      • briderx

        I am kind of curious what anyone has to “hide” from a larger corporation.. HOPEFULLY, we're not plotting a worldwide attack, or a mafia leader, or anything to that degree.. We're simple consumers. I know people like to be somewhat private about their lives, but do any of you HONESTLY have anything to hide? What “sensitive material” could possibly worth a fuss? Paraplegic-Midget-Beastiality-Fecal Porn (tim)? Come on..

        I am a pretty open book. I know they have access to my bank account info.. Remember, you gave them that. I don't type out my SS#.. Other than those two things, one I already gave to them.. I have nothing.

        • Chris Nimon

          What? Tim has Paraplegic-Midget-Beastiality-Fecal Porn? DUDE, you've been holding out on us. I'll trade ya for one with a mule, a 9 iron, pop rocks, and the bearded lady.

          • briderx

            Man, you should see his collection..

    • Chris Nimon

      google saves every txt, email, search you do. they are the biggest compilers of information there is. They either are or did work out some deal with government, cant remember which. I learned this at Indiana University and not from someones opinion so I believe it.

      • No, google is one of the few companies actively pushing to implement digital due process so Government agencies need a warrant to get data from ISP's and companies like google. This directly counters your claim of them working on a deal with the government.

        Google also makes it VERY easy to opt out of data collection (both on android and on their websites)

        • Chris Nimon

          I have nothing to hide so I dont care if they save my info or not. Yes, google wants all info to be be public knowledge because they believe it's better for us that way. I just found this article which I like, http://mashable.com/2010/04/20/google-governmen… , but im still gonna have to believe what I was taught in school which was supported by periodic journals and not from the national enquirer.

          • they don't want info to be public knowledge. They're pushing for MORE companies to use HTTPS servers, fighting that companies need COURT ORDERS to get to your data, and making it absolutely transparent which companies or governments are accessing data when they can get at it.

            I'd rather believe what's been shown in the real world and repeatedly written about in journals than believe someone only teaching me from his pet journals. I went to college, I learned a lot, but I also know that professors only really presented information that validated their viewpoint. So if they were privacy paranoid they would find something to back up their claim.

          • Chris Nimon

            pet journals? Im talking about profesional journals, peer reviewed by those who know. dude i don't know if you work for google or what but its like you are personally offended by what you think is a dig at them. If i'm told wal-mart has candy bars on sale 2 for a dollar, im not going to believe it just because I heard some person say so, but if group of scholars got together and wrote a paper with pictures of the candybars on sale im going to believe them. which is exactly why im done with this conversation. good day sir.

          • Pet jounals= preferred journals.

            Find a group of scholars who say one thing, and I'll find you another group that say the other. and both of them are SMART and both of them could have points of truth. But when you go to college and you get an article from a professor, you get it because he agrees with the position on it.

            You shouldn't accept ANY single point of view at face value.

            And I'm not personally offended. I just think that people are two quick to point out that companies are evil without looking at the facts. Where is this article that you're citing?

            Ever notice how whenever someone disagrees with another person attacking a company online, suddenly they “work” for them, or are “fanboys” I was unaware that the only correct position in any argument was to be anti-whatever company we're discussing.

          • briderx

            Then you have a##holes like me that point out you spelled “too” as the number..

          • This guy scares me 😛

          • Chris Nimon

            thx t & b. I had to get my spray

          • Sildenafil

            Wow, peer reviewed? Not from what I saw. I didn't see any bio in the “about us” page that indicated any of the staff listed were anything more than journalists or tech consultants. That doesn't qualify anyone there to wear the title 'scholars'. Oh, if you weren't referring to them being scholars in your statement about Wal-Mart, that's a false analogy. If these people were in fact scholars, then I might be more likely to listen to their arguments.

            You are also misrepresenting the content of the article. Google is REPORTING how many requests it has received for data by various gov't agencies. The 80.5% removal statement refers to how many kiddie porn, criminal activity, etc., sites it was requested to remove, and it's compliance with those requests.

          • Chris Nimon

            my use of that article was to say yes they are wanting everything reported and thats all. the acedemic journals i refer to were not supplied by a professor, thats not how it works at IU. we have to do the searching ourselves. my wal mart analogy was about credibility of sources.

  • I'm actually really glad to hear that.. Good to see google is looking out for us.

  • Niedespi12

    That is basically bullshit, just they are desensitizing you to the fact that they could actually do that. AND IT is bull-crap on how the writer tries to “justify” By saying “Don’t freak out. It’s a good thing.” And the free publicity they can get from this as being good would just numb people to the fact that they actually control. So whats next? As if we are not watched by the patriot act already. In no way shape or form this helps the consumers because the program should not even be readily able to download in the first place, and if it were proper education to prevent such instances should be common knowledge among users. At the end of the day it is control over a population of people whether people think it is extreme or not, things contently evolve and not everything is good, especially when it can breach potential privacy issues.

    • “That is basically bullshit, just they are desensitizing you to the fact that they could actually do that. AND IT is bull-crap on how the writer tries to “justify” By saying “Don’t freak out. It’s a good thing.””

      My thoughts exactly.

      • Woulda

        You people should go to a chat room for this crap.I could care less about all this and I doubt I’m the only one.C’mon enough is enough.”If the smooth don’t move,let the rough side drag.”(Dap Sugar Willie)

    • so instead of a company having the ability to remotely kill a malicious app you want them to have the ability to:

      -Tightly control the marketplace
      -dictate what you can and cannot install on your phone ('should not even be readily able to download it') This blocks sideloading.
      -not allow customers to purchase their phone unless they feel you're educated enough to manage it.

      So you want them to control your experience MORE to have them not control your experience? I think you want to think about that more.

      • you can jail-break the iPhone too, Jason. FYI. Why are you posting all of these posts, slamming everyone in the forums here?

        Have you manned up to the fact you had your e-mail hacked on June 20th yet?

        M.

        • I admitted I got my email hacked, I told people to watch out for it. how is that not manning up? Furthermore, you got that information from my facebook account. that information could also be seen by google. Now if google put it in the search results of my employer and I was applying for a security position, WHOSE FAULT would it be? It's mine because I didn't keep checking facebook's ever changing privacy settings (a company that IS out to sell your information) and yet you don't see me taking up the pitchfork there, do you?

          And I'm not slamming people, I'm replying to errors in judgement, just how YOU are replying to people who say it's not a big issue. If I'm a pot, you're the kettle. Difference being that you're agreeing with people if they hint at taking your position, even if their reasoning (see above) makes absolutely no sense and invites MORE control over the device.

          • I'm saying you should NOT be trusting companies as much and you are saying you SHOULD trust Google because they've not given you a reason not to.

            You explained elsewhere that your e-mail was hacked via key-logger and your Battle.net account from a friend's house while playing World of Warcraft.

            Again, this really sounds like the professional advice that all the folks on these forums should be taking.

            I'm done with this discussion. Last post from me, regarding it. Folks can figure out things for themselves.

            M.

          • I wasn't playing wow, I logged into battle.net (for starcraft). Getting your account ACTIVELY HACKED is a far cry from doing nothing to protect your information and then getting mad when someone sees it.

            You're attempting to throw a red herring into the argument, and I believe you're smart enough to know it for what it is.

            And I don't “trust” google completely. I check their privacy policies from time to time to see if they change, I keep up to date with news about them so if they do start selling my data I'll figure it out before someone else has to tell me.

            You on the other hand start off with the position assuming they are evil and using their data for evil purposes, and yet you still use them (or at the very least use your time posting on a forum devoted to their products).

            I'm done with this discussion as well. It's obvious that you're nothing but an internet bully who has to resort to red herrings and personal attacks to try and win an argument. Folks can figure that out on their own.

        • Snowblind164

          Pot calling the kettle black much. And the above poster was just spreading FUD. If you don't know what you're takling about keep your mouth shut.

      • Niedespi12

        You comment right there explains what I touched base on. Numb to the fact that they can do it. Point blank makes no difference to the fact. **And yes customers should make a purchase on a common knowledge of a phone.** You go on the internet and make transactions? You know the risks involve ect. ect.

        What i put has nothing to do with control, You might want to think about something before you make an assumption and trying to explain your opinion. The fact that it is publicized that they can have control over a DEVICE is enough for consumes to have concern, after all we all give up enough information. You my friend fall in line of being numb to the fact, because you seem to not care. REMOTE ACCESS is enough said

  • I don't consider this a feature. This strikes me as an unnecessary and potentially insidious feature. If I can figure out how to root my phone, I can figure out how remove an app that's been flagged as a risk, I don't need some third party to do for me without my permission or intervention.

    If microsoft did something like this to windows PCs they'd be sued. I love Google's products but they're a giant corporation, I don't want them maintaining my personal devices, etc, without explicit consent.

    • The majority of customers don't have to know how to root their phone, nor do they keep up to date on tech news so that they know when an app is dangerous. So most consumers won't know how to spot a malicious app, and policies are made for the average consumer, not for the tech end.

      This capability has been part of the OS since it LAUNCHED, and they've never made it a secret. All mobile OS's have this capability. And Windows has it built into the os that law enforcement can remotely access your computer, WITHOUT YOUR CONSENT. So it's not just an mobile os thing.

    • Not to mention that this was an app that lied about what it did to get you to download it in the first place.

  • Im not too opposed. It's nice to know they can do sumthing to cover our backs. NONE of our data is private, plz, if its on ur fone, it aint private. Ask my former mayor, Kwamie Kilpatrick……

  • robplatt

    Instead of removing the app, google should be able to STOP the application remotely, then prompt you for an action. Continue to allow, or remove app. Once you have made a decision, then they can no longer do anything to it. That would be my preferable policy.

    • b00ky

      I'm sure Google's intentions were in our best interest, but I agree that something like what you mentioned would have been a little less “all-powerful” feeling. Then again, we do have Droids and “Droid Does.” rather than “Droid Suggests.”

  • trumpet444

    ….by the way, I love that pic up there. The one little android with the red eyes! He's infected! hahahahah

  • karl

    This really surprised me to see this. If it was apple (and I think they have this ability as well, which was yet another reason not to get an iphone) everyone would be up in arms talking about how steve jobs has too much control over something that is owned by the customer. If google wants to maintain its reputation for openness and live by its “don't be evil” mantra they need to make this something that you can opt out of (ideally, you could opt out completely, or decide to opt out only for specific apps, so any that you're not sure could still be removed if a security issue comes up) then if someone has opted out of this, they could still shoot us a notification if we have an app they want to remove.

    • texasag03

      Apple does have this capability and people did complain loudly when Apple announced it. Many of those people were Android users/supporters. I wonder if they'll complain as loudly now.

      • I complain. Depends on how it is implemented. If it is a process of the marketplace, ok. If it notifies me before hand, Ok. If I am able to keep the application even though google wants to remove it, Ok.

        If they just get to decide to remove apps willy nilly from my phone without my consent or knowlege, not Ok (for me, for average Joe, i can see the benefit).

        • texasag03

          I'm with you. At the very least, you should receive a prompt telling you what is happening.

      • They complained because apple didn't admit to the capability until others discovered it, and they used it to remove apps that did not violate any privacy rules.

        Google's been on the level about the capability SINCE LAUNCH.

    • The difference is that Google explained what was going on publicly BEFORE people started freaking out. Apple would just do it and not say anything until people asked why (like adult oriented apps). Google came clean with this capability almost as soon as they released the OS. it took people pressuring apple to admit that they had the same capability.

      I agree that a force stop/ask user to confirm would be a better alternative, but at the same time, a kill command is a VERY useful thing to have if someone tries making a malicious code.

  • trumpet444

    Its kind of cool. And scary. But, I guess we'd all probably complain if a malicious app screwed a lot of us and Google didn't/couldn't do something about it.

  • The difference between Orwellian Amazon removing your books, and Apple removing your apps, is purpose.

    We fear Apple/Amazon for their desire to remove applications/books for something other than our best interest.

    Apple because some developer didn't follow their standard, or what have you, Amazon because of their inability to ensure copyright compliances on their products.

    Google demonstrates so far it will only do so to protect users, and users still have alternative means from the market to install what they want.

  • This is a double edged sword, on one hand great because Google is watching out for us against mischievous apps… on the other hand if Google can access it then most certainly someone else can to. Where there is a door, there's someone looking to step inside it.

    • well said but i'm already super parnoid.. Right now i'm just gonna take it as a good thing. and of course anything could happen.

  • briderx

    They could potentially remove WIFI Tether for root if they wanted to.. OOH, think of the throngs of owners/supporters of Google based handsets that would be mad..

    • They can only kill apps that were installed from the marketplace. Additionally, the wifi tether requires root access, and is very clear with the permissions it uses.

      Google removed this app because it was misleading customers to get them to download it

      • briderx

        I know this, but what i'm saying is, what's the possibility they could kill something like that, since most wireless companies charge for tethering capability from a smart phone?

        • Not very likely. PDA net is in the marketplace and has been for a long time, even though companies offer tethering.

          and if they did remove it from the market, you just need to sideload it

          • briderx

            Valid Arguments.. I totally agree.

  • JimK

    My thoughts are basically “Screw you, Google, keep your damn mitts from offin mah phone.” Only in my thoughts there is a lot more use of the F word.

    • I second that emotion.

    • Agreed

    • Then don't get an android phone. This feature has been present (and known of) since the first android device. if you don't agree with the policy, don't support the product. It's that simple.

      • God, there is one of you on every blog and forum isn't there? Doesn't it get tiresome being like that all the time?

        • What do you mean? If you don't like how a company handles themselves, don't support them.

          It's the MOST EFFECTIVE way to encourage companies to develop their products and policies in a way that you agree with.

          I'm not saying your position is wrong (or that it is right) I am saying that if you want to cause change, support only companies that act in a way you agree with.

          • briderx

            Jason, I'm tempted to come up with a ridiculous argument just to reel you in.. Here goes.. You MIGHT have to look for it..

          • Minionatp

            @jason
            i hate the stupid 'change the channel' argument. i see it all the time and its bullshit.
            you think that one person not buying an android phone because of googles ability to mess with your phone is going to make a difference. thare are 100,000+ new android devices coming online every day. id say 95% of those people dont realize what kind of privacy invasion they are opening themselves up to, if they did they might also be pissed at some company adding and deleting their apps at will without their knowledge or consent.
            you cant just tell people to 'change the channel and shut up'. if enough people complain they will remove the feature or at least give it an opt-out setting.

            if you want to cause change, encourage others to demand for it as well. keeping quiet and buying another product will do ABSOLUTELY NOTHING unless you get enough people to do the same.

    • Samsonite801

      Well, what choice do we have? This… or Steve Jobs gated community? At least Google's security system is just a little barbed wire fence and you can still see through it. Steve Jobs gated community is like a glass dome with a 50-foot tall solid white fence around the whole perimeter with no doors. I hands down choose Google in a heart beat, sorry….

      • Samsonite801

        Oh, by the way, and at least Android still has a way to turn off SYNC so which is like your firewall between you and google.

  • Cowboydon1

    If we have bad or misrepresented apps I think its great that Google watches out for us.

  • Now this is quite nice 😛
    Google now has all the power 🙂

    • KaZx

      Sorta like apple remote kill switch

      • redbar0n11

        I think you found the next villain! It's gonna be steve jobs trying to break into android's back door. Once he's in (if he can figure it out – moron), he's gonna try to steal flash player – since he screwed that one up, and then he's gonna go after the market connectvity – b/c Google is smarter than him and he's a sore loser LOL

      • Scruff

        Right. Except Apple has never had to use that switch in its two years of trading.

    • spyder00

      Aww man Google's next project is Skynet…were okay unless they activate it to stop a friggin massive virus lol i'm going to find a underground presidential bomb shelter when that happens! m/

  • Mike

    Id like to see a protocal in effect where users can log in on a computer to google accounts and ask for something to be removed from there phone, in case of situation where the app in question refuses to be deleted, or in extreme cases, takes control of the phone… and also some specific notification from google, such as a text or email, saying “We removed XYZ app, for more information on why, please visit http:xyzxyzxyz” and there be a description as to why, and what led them to that heavy handed of a course of action. Transparency can alleviate worries about the controls they can utilize…

  • Nightfox981

    I agree i dont like it. But there needs to be some level of security and i guess its either that or the overbearing approach that Apple takes with their app store. As long as Google doesn't become like Apple….

  • zizzybaloobah

    Does that include third-party apps that don't come from the Market? If so, I find it very disconcerting.

    • trumpet444

      Hmm, i wouldn't think so. Im guessing they have the power to remove apps that are linked to the market

    • #1guest

      I would like to know this as well.

    • Those apps arn't synced with their marketplace servers, so I doubt it.

  • jo

    Thoughts? First.