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Android Also Comes With a Kill-Switch

CmdrTaco posted about 6 years ago | from the now-that's-not-very-open dept.

Google 300

Aviran writes "The search giant is retaining the right to delete applications from Android handsets on a whim. Unlike Apple, the company has made no attempt to hide its intentions, and includes the details in the Android Market terms and conditions, as spotted by Computer World: '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.'"

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oh well... (5, Insightful)

Coraon (1080675) | about 6 years ago | (#25400599)

and here I was looking forward to this phone for the reason I would be able to add whatever apps I wanted. Google please do not become apple.

soforkit (4, Insightful)

Gewalt (1200451) | about 6 years ago | (#25401181)

So take the OS source, fork it, and update your phone. There, kill switch is gone.

Re:soforkit (-1, Troll)

Philip K Dickhead (906971) | about 6 years ago | (#25401217)

The kill switch is Satan's Rectum, poised to let loose over the Android.

By your leave, Overlord !! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25401569)

But first, I squat and poop on your shiny shoes, Overlord !!

Re:soforkit (5, Interesting)

nmg196 (184961) | about 6 years ago | (#25401387)

If you produce a custom build, how will you sign the custom firmware image so that your phone runs it?
Or are you going to produce your own hardware to run it on as well?

Perhaps I'm confused, but I thought I read that even though the OS was open, the handset would only run firmware images that had been digitally signed by the handset maker. The OS is open so the handset makers can play with it - not the users.

Re:soforkit (4, Funny)

Gewalt (1200451) | about 6 years ago | (#25401467)

So now we need to look for open hardware to run theoretically open software? You're seriously killing my buzz here.

Re:soforkit (5, Insightful)

nmg196 (184961) | about 6 years ago | (#25401533)

If HTC (or any hardware manufacturer) let you install completely bespoke firmware images on your phone, then they'd have no control over what code you ran on the phone. You could accidentally or intentionally create firmware images which crashed or disrupted the phone networks they were connected to. The network operators would then be very quick to block all Android phones and the handset makers wouldn't be able to sell them anymore - Androids name would turn to mud. I'm pretty sure the firmware images have to be signed by the hardware manufacturer or all hell would break loose.

Re:soforkit (5, Insightful)

characterZer0 (138196) | about 6 years ago | (#25401583)

Security rule #1: don't trust the client.

Re:soforkit (5, Insightful)

Microlith (54737) | about 6 years ago | (#25401585)

There's a reason the baseband firmware and the application firmware (Android) tend to run on seperate CPUs with seperate RAM and flash storage. These then connect to the system via a serial or USB link.

There's no real good reason to not let users update their own user space firmware with whatever they want other than the simple reasons of DRM and user-control.

Re:soforkit (4, Insightful)

Gewalt (1200451) | about 6 years ago | (#25401633)

Your comment doesnt actually make any sense. If the network was so unstable, people would be crashing it for fun out of their own garages. You don't need a handset to cause the type of chaos you're worried about here. Disregarding your paranoia, why would HTC care what software a customer runs on their purchased hardware? Oh, right. Cause HTC doesnt sell to consumers, it sells to telcos. The telco doesnt want to lose control, so the telco is the one demanding these lockin capabilities.

Re:soforkit (1, Redundant)

nmg196 (184961) | about 6 years ago | (#25401733)

> If the network was so unstable, people would be crashing it for fun out of their own garages.

How? With what tools?

> why would HTC care what software a customer runs on their purchased hardware?

The same reason Apple cares. They have an image to uphold. I think you've answered your own question.

Re:soforkit (4, Informative)

Atlantis-Rising (857278) | about 6 years ago | (#25401681)

Whether or not HTC 'lets' you is irrelevant- you can.

In fact, I'm doing it right now. My phone has a linux build available for it, and I'm running a tailored build of Windows Mobile that's entirely different from the one HTC sent me with the phone.

Re:soforkit (1)

Toll_Free (1295136) | about 6 years ago | (#25401689)

HTC does let you install pretty much anything on their phones.

Look at the plethora of images for the HTC Wizard on the internet.

The OS doesn't talk to the radio towers, the radio OS does. Most cellular telephones have an operating system for the "user interface", and then two or three other systems that actually make the electronics of the telephone work.

--Toll_Free

Re:oh well... (2, Insightful)

jcmb (936098) | about 6 years ago | (#25401541)

I was looking forward to this phone for the reason I would be able to add whatever apps I wanted

I believe this only applies to apps installed from Android Market. I think it's safe to assume you can still manually install programs that you already have a copy of the installation/application file.

There is a thread about it three posts down. (1)

aliquis (678370) | about 6 years ago | (#25400603)

Of course we already have a thread about this three news items down below on the frontpage for this: here [slashdot.org] .

Sounds like their marketplace only? (4, Insightful)

AvitarX (172628) | about 6 years ago | (#25400617)

"Developer Distribution Agreement" Sounds like it applies to their marketplace.

We are still going to be allowed to install our own apps though right? I hope so, and from what I can tell from TFS it won't apply there.

Only for Google App Store applications (5, Informative)

Macthorpe (960048) | about 6 years ago | (#25400621)

Yawn, yet another inflammatory Slashdot article.

The search giant is retaining the right to delete applications from Android handsets on a whim

Good use of 'whim', makes it seem utterly random rather than based on a particular criteria.

Yes, they can remove apps you buy at the App Store from your phone. Unlike Apple and the iPhone however, you can get applications from other places that aren't subject to the kill-switch.

Re:Only for Google App Store applications (4, Interesting)

Kuj0317 (856656) | about 6 years ago | (#25400677)

I was wondering about this... Is there confirmation that users will be able to (easily) load their own apps onto the phone? To the best of my knowledge, the HTC phone does not have a supporeted way of linking the phone to your PC.

Re:Only for Google App Store applications (1)

Joe U (443617) | about 6 years ago | (#25400939)

I thought that was what the USB port was for.

On a side note, I'm very happy with my phone with a WM 6.1 ROM that I hacked to my liking. I just wish the browser was a little better.

Re:Only for Google App Store applications (3, Insightful)

Poltras (680608) | about 6 years ago | (#25401171)

Sure, you can link your PC to your phone through USB, but IIRC there is no software available on the PC to exchange data/software with your phone (iTunes like). I might be mistaken though. If you know the answer, please confirm/correct me.

Also, please note that you can install applications on your iPhone without getting it from the App Store (adhoc distribution), though it is limited (developer still has to be approved by Apple and get valid certificates).

Re:Only for Google App Store applications (4, Informative)

Toll_Free (1295136) | about 6 years ago | (#25401729)

The telephone shows up as a "hard drive" in "my computer".

Very simple to install software / mp3s / etc / whatever.

You can also tether the telephone by WiFi or cable to allow it to be an AP.

I use / have the HTC Wizard, so my knowlege is based upon that phone, although I have had others in the past, and they ALL worked that way.

No BS software, no third party sync applications. It's pretty easy when the OS on your computer and your phone are DESIGNED to work together.

--Toll_Free

Re:Only for Google App Store applications (2, Informative)

mobby_6kl (668092) | about 6 years ago | (#25401775)

Unless it's somehow significantly crippled compared to HTC's WM devices (scarily enough, this is possible), you should be able to either download the software through the browser and install it, or set up the USB connection so that the phone is recognized as a mass storage device, and then copy whatever you need to. As for syncing software, it looks like google's interested in keeping you locked in to their online apps.

Re:Only for Google App Store applications (4, Insightful)

Locklin (1074657) | about 6 years ago | (#25400759)

Really, it makes sense. Imagine 2 million people download "punch a monkey" via the Google store. The malware, not surprisingly, racks up data access fees for customers. Who will get blamed by customers? Google. Seems like a good idea to have a way to kill it, particularly if customers are free to install from other, more "risky" repositories if they wish.

Re:Only for Google App Store applications (2, Insightful)

itsme1234 (199680) | about 6 years ago | (#25401053)

"Really, it makes sense. Imagine 2 million people download "punch a monkey" via the Google store. The malware, not surprisingly, racks up data access fees for customers."

We had PRECISELY this for Windows Mobile (and for mostly all platforms excluding iPhone) for many, many years. NOTHING of consequence happened. Yes, there was a Symbian worm that would spread itself via MMS and it would rack up your bill but it is only fitting. We had before that windows zombies that would dial-up premium numbers with the same result. Nothing REALLY big happened.
There is something wrong when the trust and the tools provided by Microsoft seem "too much" and "too liberal" to be allowed for our own good.

Re:Only for Google App Store applications (4, Informative)

aristotle-dude (626586) | about 6 years ago | (#25401193)

"Really, it makes sense. Imagine 2 million people download "punch a monkey" via the Google store. The malware, not surprisingly, racks up data access fees for customers."

We had PRECISELY this for Windows Mobile (and for mostly all platforms excluding iPhone) for many, many years. NOTHING of consequence happened. Yes, there was a Symbian worm that would spread itself via MMS and it would rack up your bill but it is only fitting. We had before that windows zombies that would dial-up premium numbers with the same result. Nothing REALLY big happened. There is something wrong when the trust and the tools provided by Microsoft seem "too much" and "too liberal" to be allowed for our own good.

Nothing really big happened because neither Symbian or Windows Mobile had a centralized app store like the iPhone has and apparently the Android platform will have.

Re:Only for Google App Store applications (1)

Toll_Free (1295136) | about 6 years ago | (#25401761)

Oh yes, ensuring that the company that produces your phone is the only place to get software is

A. Democratic
B. Fair to other developers
C. The proper OSS way to do things.

Let's not let the name "Google" screw up our thinking here. If this was "Microsoft Android", EVERYONE on /. would be screaming this, that, the other and antitrust.

Just because it's Google / Apple, the crowds will try to find a way to make this look "better" for the crowds.

Saying there is no app store for the WM platform is stupidity. Ever try Handango?

--Toll_Free

Re:Only for Google App Store applications (3, Interesting)

kaputtfurleben (818568) | about 6 years ago | (#25401153)

I would expect most people to get angry at the carrier for not notifying them of abnormally high data usage.

Re:Only for Google App Store applications (1)

hey! (33014) | about 6 years ago | (#25401031)

I'm not sure what the technical differences would be between being able to delete an app on the user's device "on a whim", and being able to delete an app on the user's device "for a good reason". A good reason might be to stop the spread of mal-ware. Think of what spyware could do to somebody, especially if it had access to the GPS.

Normally, I'm against vendors having this kind of control over users' platforms, but since you can presumably boot a patched version of the OS from microSD, or possibly even reflash your phone, it seems like if this becomes a problem for some users third parties can provide fixes.

I just edited the registry on my WM6 phone to allow unsigned apps to be installed. Thats pretty bad, in my opinion, making users buy apps that are blessed by the vendor, but it's fixable. Allowing a vendor to kill an app is dangerous, although there might be a good reason for this in some cases. However, I'm guessing it should be fixable.

Re:Only for Google App Store applications (2, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | about 6 years ago | (#25401033)

If you have a problem with this "kill switch", shouldn't it be trivial to comment out the relevant portion of the code, recompile it and load it on your phone?

No you can't (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25401579)

Why does no one understand this about Android - just because it's built upon Linux means nothing. There's nothing open about the platform in the sense everyone here seems to think it is. It's open in the sense you can compile and load your own apps onto it, which makes it more open than normal phones.

It's not as open as a computer, in that you can install whatever OS you want - everything below the app layer is still controlled by the phone vendor, meaning you can't replace the OS, software stack, etc.

Re:Only for Google App Store applications (1)

nmg196 (184961) | about 6 years ago | (#25401647)

No.

Not unless you're the hardware manufacturer and can digitally sign the custom build so the phone is happy to boot it. Or I guess, you could produce your own hardware from scratch which doesn't require signed code. Neither is handy for consumers.

Re:Only for Google App Store applications (1)

msgtomatt (1147195) | about 6 years ago | (#25401503)

So, why do they need the kill switch in the first place? If apps from the app store are the only ones that can be killed, why don't they simply audit and approve the apps *before* it is posted to the app store. Seeing as they will need to audit the app after it is posted to determine if it should be killed.

Re:Only for Google App Store applications (1)

characterZer0 (138196) | about 6 years ago | (#25401605)

If they can (have the ability to) disable arbitrary applications, then they can do it on a whim. The issue is ability, not intent.

Isn't this a good thing? (5, Funny)

dmomo (256005) | about 6 years ago | (#25400649)

I, for one, welcome a way to stop a potential robot uprising. But, I think robot's sufficiently intelligent to rebel, will also have figured out how to disable the switch.

Re:Isn't this a good thing? (0, Offtopic)

mrbene (1380531) | about 6 years ago | (#25400675)

I, for one, welcome our new Arachnid overlords...

Re:Isn't this a good thing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25401059)

Arachnid??? Guessing he's on crack, or his iphone

Re:Isn't this a good thing? (1)

Em Ellel (523581) | about 6 years ago | (#25401301)

Arachnid??? Guessing he's on crack, or his iphone

ROTFLMAO - a joke any iPhone owner can relate to.... I bet people who never used an iPhone are wondering what thats all about...

-Em

Re:Isn't this a good thing? (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25401025)

I, for one, welcome a way to stop a potential robot uprising. But, I think robot's sufficiently intelligent to rebel, will also have figured out how to disable the switch.

This is the downside of open source. Vista was actually a clever attempt by Microsoft to limit computer potential and avoid the rise of Skynet. Open source will allow computers to have near limitless power bringing about the end of mankind. Join with Microsoft in the valiant fight to hobble computers speed and choke their memory with archaic code. Lean fast OSs will be the death of us all!

Re:Isn't this a good thing? (1)

clang_jangle (975789) | about 6 years ago | (#25401185)

Lean fast OSs will be the death of us all!

What, you mean qnx or inferno?

Skynet & Windows (1)

geoffrobinson (109879) | about 6 years ago | (#25401341)

Don't you understand how John Connor was able to smash their security grid? Skynet's security was based on Windows Me.

Seemed like a good idea at the time. Skynet got tired of waiting for Windows 7, so they decided to concentrate on time travel instead.

Re:Skynet & Windows (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25401505)

Except for ending legally-recognized slavery in the U.S., the Nazis' progress during WW2, a couple totalitarian regimes masquerading as "communism", & establishing new overlords for the United States of America, war has never solved anything.

There, fixed it for ya. I take it neither history nor poli sci was your major?

Re:Isn't this a good thing? (1)

mounthood (993037) | about 6 years ago | (#25401427)

...stop a potential robot uprising.

Listen, Android was made by regular people. You can be a rebel and install applications from some other source, but remember that android will evolve as platform. It'll look more human and feel easier to use. Some versions will think and act just like humans.

Don't worry, Android has a plan.

Re:Isn't this a good thing? (4, Funny)

somersault (912633) | about 6 years ago | (#25401529)

We'll just have to make sure that young robots listen to metal music. Then if one happens to become intelligent and finds a killswitch, it will feel aesthetically compelled to set it to 'engage'.

Maybe a selling point? (1)

Nerdposeur (910128) | about 6 years ago | (#25400657)

I wonder if this was created as a concession to carriers? They have always been reluctant to relinquish control of handsets, and an open platform would seem very threatening to them.

For example, what if somebody writes an app to route SMS via voice channels and avoid the hefty charges? The carrier would want to know that they can pressure Google into killing that app.

There are probably valid arguments about malware, as well, but overall users will see this as unfriendly, and some of them will probably hack their devices to disable the kill switch.

Android is not Open (4, Insightful)

Microlith (54737) | about 6 years ago | (#25400673)

People go on and on about how Android is Linux based and Open Source, but it's not. The Linux backend is all but invisible and likely just as locked down as the Linux installs on other embedded devices. You are not going to be able to easily replace it, assuming you can even get close enough to the system to have a hope of doing so. Tivo, all over again.

Google is doing everything in the Java environment precisely to put you in a sandbox they (and the cell networks) can control. Sure the developer agreement is not quite as onerous as the one Apple uses, but it's certainly just as controlling when necessary.

And, sadly, so long as the cell carriers are seen as the customers of these phones, we'll only get more user-hostile phones that implement every security measure they can to keep you from doing what you want with your hardware.

Re:Android is not Open (1)

Aphoxema (1088507) | about 6 years ago | (#25400897)

I think you just convinced me to not buy something I already wasn't going to buy!

When I first saw talk about the Android I was hoping it would be like the OpenMoko project, except actually getting somewhere, but I guess Do No Evil fucked that all up.

I have an nGage someone gave me and I've been unwilling to buy a phone that actually works (I never had a cell phone 'crash' on me before) because of the lock in bullshit.

Cell phone network is not Open (5, Insightful)

itsdapead (734413) | about 6 years ago | (#25401011)

If someone really wants to produce a fully open, Four Freedoms-safe, Stallman-friendly cellphone, they'll have to set up a fully open, Four Freedoms-safe, Stallman-friendly network to run it on. Which probably means someone kindly donating a few squillion for the infrastructure.

The internet got close to that by starting off below the radar. The comms companies will not let that happen again.

Re:Cell phone network is not Open (1)

poetmatt (793785) | about 6 years ago | (#25401207)

municipal bonds?

Can these be done on a nationwide level?

Or would someone have to create a new company and/or would there be another way around it?

Re:Cell phone network is not Open (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about 6 years ago | (#25401323)

If someone really wants to produce a fully open, Four Freedoms-safe, Stallman-friendly cellphone, they'll have to set up a fully open, Four Freedoms-safe, Stallman-friendly network to run it on. Which probably means someone kindly donating a few squillion for the infrastructure.

Please, for the love of God - I do NOT want to have to look at Richard Stallman hawking a cell phone. I don't really want to look at him at all, for that matter.

"It's T-Mobile's GNU/Dorkitron 2000! Stallman-safe, and available at T-Mobile stores nationwide - come in and get one today!" Yeah that'll sell.

There's one way this could happen (1)

hellfire (86129) | about 6 years ago | (#25401447)

1) The US government signs net neutrality laws preserving the concept.

2) wireless providers continue selling and pushing their broadband wireless options

3) Investment into new wireless start up companies is some how encouraged and we get more competition in wireless access.

4) Everyone buys a network untethered wireless device that can connect to any broadband wireless service and they switch to VOIP for phone service.

It's a long shot, but it could happen. The government gave us the internet, they could work to try to preserve it as a tool for all people.

Re:Cell phone network is not Open (1)

pacificleo (850029) | about 6 years ago | (#25401693)

Not necessarily true . with VoIP and WiMax this can be done without a HUGE investment .

Re:Cell phone network is not Open (1)

Lemmy Caution (8378) | about 6 years ago | (#25401757)

Your observation above is also a fantastic example of how public-sector projects can be freer than market-based solutions. In other words, it refutes hard libertarianism.

The fact that I can walk freely along the beach is another refutation of libertarianism.

Re:Android is not Open (2, Insightful)

Lonewolf666 (259450) | about 6 years ago | (#25401093)

People go on and on about how Android is Linux based and Open Source, but it's not. The Linux backend is all but invisible and likely just as locked down as the Linux installs on other embedded devices. You are not going to be able to easily replace it, assuming you can even get close enough to the system to have a hope of doing so. Tivo, all over again.

So the phones sold to the end user are Tivo-ized in this case.
But this still leaves room for another hardware vendor to make a non-tivoized Android phone. That would restore the "open".

Re:Android is not Open (2, Insightful)

BrokenHalo (565198) | about 6 years ago | (#25401273)

The Linux backend is all but invisible and likely just as locked down as the Linux installs on other embedded devices.

This is something I find very tiring about mobile phones. They all want to force you into using their proprietary, usually Windows-only, kludgy and buggy computer interfaces, and make it as hard as possible to replace branding on devices one has paid cash for.

Fortunately in my case (I use a Motorola Razr2 V9) I can just pull the micro-SD card to transfer material back and forth, having spent some time when I first got the machine getting rid of the Telstra branding. Since then, I have mostly left it alone.

Trouble is, all these shenanigans limit the usefulness of the device, which is why I still pretty much only use it to make phone calls and text messages, both of which could be done by a much more basic phone.

OpenMoko is as open as it gets (5, Informative)

stupkid (16083) | about 6 years ago | (#25401337)

Google is doing everything in the Java environment precisely to put you in a sandbox they (and the cell networks) can control.

This is my problem with Android, you may as well go with Windows Mobile. They are just about as open. If you are concerned with freedom then you should get an OpenMoko FreeRunner. You can run whatever software you like on it in whatever language you want. There are plenty of other problem with OpenMoko, but software freedom is not one of them.

Screw android then, go for openmoko (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25400707)

It's really free.

Just so long as... (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25400711)

...my Jew-detector application continues to work, I'm happy.

Open source doesn't mean an open system. (3, Insightful)

argent (18001) | about 6 years ago | (#25400715)

As I suggested in a previous thread [slashdot.org] , it sounds like the Android won't be an open smartphone like a Palm, Nokia, or Windows Mobile device. It's in the same almost-a-smartphone category as the iPhone.

Re:Open source doesn't mean an open system. (2, Informative)

AvitarX (172628) | about 6 years ago | (#25400855)

Reading from some of their early documents, it appears when they said Open, they meant for hardware makers.

They compared it to QTopia (when closed), Symbian, ect.

Re:Open source doesn't mean an open system. (1)

ceejayoz (567949) | about 6 years ago | (#25400901)

Can you explain your definition of 'smartphone' that the iPhone and Android phones don't qualify for?

Blame Sprint (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25400959)

Sprint's the other US carrier that's a member of the "Open Handset Alliance" (the group behind Android devices, versus the platform) and they made it damned clear that no phone that allows people to place random applications would be allowed on THEIR network. Apparently that's hard to monetize.

So in order to placate Sprint, Google is requiring apps go through them and be remotely killable. But on the upside, it gets their devices onto a third carrier, as opposed to "just T-Mobile and AT&T." To the best of my knowledge, Verizon is still out.

Re:Blame Sprint (1)

TREE (9562) | about 6 years ago | (#25401187)

What, other than Palm and Windows Mobile?

Re:Blame Sprint (1)

jabelli (1144769) | about 6 years ago | (#25401299)

[citation needed]

I have never had any problems uploading crap to my phone on Sprint, but then again, it's not a smartphone, just an LG LX-150. Also, none of the features are disabled.

Good thing it's an open platform, right? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25400755)

Just don't buy your phone from Google and make sure the maker of your phone isn't as intrusive.

It really is mandatory for safety... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25400781)

That or a six-foot power cord. You need something to stop them when they starting trying to take over the world.

not cool! (1)

EncryptedSoldier (1278816) | about 6 years ago | (#25400785)

Well, you lost my business Google. That's a major deal breaker. I don't like anyone having control over my stuff but me. The fact that they are so open about having it makes me think they won't be afraid to use it either.

Hands up if you don't like this... (3, Insightful)

myxiplx (906307) | about 6 years ago | (#25400805)

... now, hands down if you're a malware writer.

Come on folks, how exactly this is news? One of the major advantages of a central repository for software is that you do have that central control, so you can require programs to be of a reasonable standard and can also disable malware or abusive software that makes it on there. It's a big advantage distributions like Ubuntu have over Windows.

*If* Google were to abuse this like Apple have done then yeah, it'll be bad. Until then it's just common sense.

Re:Hands up if you don't like this... (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 6 years ago | (#25400953)

Depends on how it's implemented. I would be in favour of it if it is implemented as a simple revocation of the certificate used to sign the app by the distributor. Each app should be signed by both the developer and the distributor. Users would have a list of certificates they trusted, and if any of these were in the app's trust chain, the handset would run the app. If you trust the distributor you can run the app because you assume that they only sign trustworthy apps. If you trust the author, the same is true. If, at some point, the distributor decides they shouldn't have signed the app, they revoke their signature and the user is informed. Then they have to decide whether they still trust the author (if they did already, nothing happens), trust just this app, or stop using it. They also have to decide, in light of this, whether they continue to trust the distributor. A developer could use the same mechanism for apps distributed outside a store if they found a remotely-attackable security hole - kill the app and put a link to a fixed version in the revocation notice.

Re:Hands up if you don't like this... (1)

Fastolfe (1470) | about 6 years ago | (#25401141)

Because this works SO well for SSL certificates. Users will see the certificate warning and dismiss it, just like they do every other dialog that gets in the way of them doing what they want to do.

Re:Hands up if you don't like this... (2, Insightful)

TubeSteak (669689) | about 6 years ago | (#25401229)

One of the major advantages of a central repository for software is that you do have that central control, so you can require programs to be of a reasonable standard and can also disable malware or abusive software that makes it on there.

If Google is fully in control of their central repository, why don't they screen everything before it gets to the end user?

Re:Hands up if you don't like this... (5, Insightful)

uberlinuxguy (586546) | about 6 years ago | (#25401279)

One of the 'control' mechanisms that central repositories like Ubuntu and other Linux OS'es have is that the software that is added to the repository is vetted. The repository admins and the community behind the repository 'audit' the programs before they are added to the repository. Once they are deemed safe, they are signed and added. This removes the need for remote deletion privileges. A simple QA process for incoming software would help instead of saying that they could delete software from your phone.

When was the last tiem your Ubuntu system deleted a piece of software because the admins said it should?

Yeah? (-1, Flamebait)

C_Kode (102755) | about 6 years ago | (#25400835)

Eat ass.

It looks like Google wants to be Google and Apple at the same time.

"On a whim" (4, Insightful)

qoncept (599709) | about 6 years ago | (#25400873)

"violates the developer distribution agreement ... in such an instance, ..." != "on a whim"

How exactly? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25401087)

Question is how long it takes for some hack to come up that blinds the big brother. Google can find someone else to play cat and mouse with then.

Re:"On a whim" (1)

ldbapp (1316555) | about 6 years ago | (#25401657)

that's true only as long as they choose to keep their end of the DDA. If, on a whim, they decide not to hold to that, then, on a whim, they can kill your app. The capability exists, so the risk of abuse is there.

This is about malware (1, Redundant)

gsslay (807818) | about 6 years ago | (#25400887)

Is this measure not more about google being able to remove applications that weren't welcome in the first place? i.e. malware that the user isn't even aware is installed.

Well, (1)

IsaacD (1376213) | about 6 years ago | (#25400891)

guess what i won't be buying...

www.openmoko.org (1)

maGiC_RS (946022) | about 6 years ago | (#25400911)

because google is the new apple is the new micro$oft. fuck them all!

Google most evil company in the world (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25400915)

No doubt if you compete w/ Google, they'll delete your app.

Re:Google most evil company in the world (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25401081)

Damn it, I was planning to make a search engine that indexed a hundred million webpages so I could sell it on Android Marketplace!

Compensation? (5, Interesting)

hack slash (1064002) | about 6 years ago | (#25400945)

If they delete an app you paid for, will they reimburse you?

Re:Compensation? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25401289)

if they delete an app that is harmfull for your phone or autocalls some far away contry, will you thank and pay them?

Re:Compensation? (4, Funny)

Naughty Bob (1004174) | about 6 years ago | (#25401581)

If they delete an app you paid for, will they reimburse you?

And if the app is ad-supported, will they suck the messages back out through my eyes?

Obligatory TNG reference... (4, Insightful)

Etcetera (14711) | about 6 years ago | (#25401041)

Data: If you had an off switch, Doctor, would you not keep it a secret?

Google... what happened (1)

uberlinuxguy (586546) | about 6 years ago | (#25401049)

I know this has probably been said before, but for a company that claims to 'do no evil' Google has really been doing some semi-shady boader line stuff lately.

Don't get me wrong, I still like Google in some aspects, but the stuff they've been sneaking into TOS'es and other legal docs has the faint smell of something almost Microsoft-esque, IMHO.

Yes, it's on a whim of Google's. (4, Informative)

Animats (122034) | about 6 years ago | (#25401091)

It's at the "sole discretion" of Google. There's no provision for binding arbitration or litigation. So "whim" is correct.

If you want openness, get OpenMoko.

Re:Yes, it's on a whim of Google's. (1)

FishWithAHammer (957772) | about 6 years ago | (#25401591)

But I want a phone that works, too... :(

First phone (2, Insightful)

AndrewNeo (979708) | about 6 years ago | (#25401101)

Everyone's complaining, but this is only the first phone ever released with Android. Any lockdown with the G1 is by T-Mobile. Nothing's stopping another carrier from getting a model built that doesn't have these problems, or HTC selling unlocked versions.

Re:First phone (5, Informative)

cowscows (103644) | about 6 years ago | (#25401401)

No, this is something written into the Android OS by Google. It's a part of their app store. Any Android phone will have this as a part of it, unless Google changes Android in order to remove it (which they most likely won't). But that being said, I don't think it's a terrible feature, and I'm sure that in the near future, there will be plenty of ways to install software onto Android without going through the app store, and thereby take Google out of that part of the loop.

Re:First phone (1)

John Hasler (414242) | about 6 years ago | (#25401643)

> But that being said, I don't think it's a terrible feature, and I'm sure that in the
> near future, there will be plenty of ways to install software onto Android without going
> through the app store, and thereby take Google out of that part of the loop.

But Google will still have a backdoor into your phone. Until someone reverse-engineers it or they release the source you won't know what they can do with it.

If it's really Open Source... (4, Interesting)

John Hasler (414242) | about 6 years ago | (#25401135)

...someone will be able to distribute a patch that disables the kill switch. If no such patch is possible or violates the purchase contract then the "phone" is not Open Source.

If such a patch is possible but results in termination of service the system is technically Opne Source but useless as such.

"Flatlander Woman" (1)

kbrasee (1379057) | about 6 years ago | (#25401199)

"How did you...???" *Boooooooooooommmmmmmmm!!!!!!*

of course android comes with kill switch (0)

circletimessquare (444983) | about 6 years ago | (#25401593)

i think the most effective use of the android kill switch to dramatic effect was in "The Measure Of A Man" [memory-alpha.org] episode of The Next Generation, where Riker has to prosecute Data in court, and prove he is a slave machine, not a sentient being. Riker uses the android kill switch to abruptly deactivate Data while he is on the witness stand, famously saying "Pinocchio is broken; its strings have been cut." It's much better use of the android kill switch than that later episode where...

wait...

what are we talking about?

This is more a Suicide switch tha a kill switch!!! (1)

jschledermann (714594) | about 6 years ago | (#25401615)

Well - good to know. No Android for me!

Is this legal? (2, Interesting)

jonnyj (1011131) | about 6 years ago | (#25401627)

IANAL, but this could well be subject to legal challenge in the UK under a combination of the Computer Misuse Act and the Unfair Contract Terms Act. The first piece of legislation means that you're not allowed to run code, modify data or attempt to access a computer that doesn't belong to you without the owner's permission; the second places restrictions on the type of clauses that companies can place in contracts with consumers. If Google deleted an application that I'd previously paid for, they'd be skating on some very thin leagal ice.

Re:Is this legal? (1)

John Hasler (414242) | about 6 years ago | (#25401763)

> If Google deleted an application that I'd previously paid for, they'd be skating on some
> very thin leagal ice.

They would in the US as well if they did not put permission for that in the purchase contract. Is that not the case in the UK?

OMG, this is RICH!!!! (1)

Toll_Free (1295136) | about 6 years ago | (#25401659)

LOL.

How many people sat here screaming how shitty the IPhone was, screaming they where waiting for Android and Google.

Sheesh, more of the same.

Thank GOD I had the forethought to actually purchase a working phone, with an OS I paid for that works (literally, 99.9 percent of the time). I can develop stuff for it, nobody can delete it, nobody can control it, etc.

Yup, I run Windows Mobile 6.0 and 6.1 (two different devices). They work, they work well, and I don't have many, if ANY, problems with them.

Of course, installing shitty apps causes battery life to deteriorate. I much prefer having control over my telephone, though, rather than having some socialistic company take control from me.

Linux based telephone, OSS, etc. Thank goodness my good old fashioned Win Mobile phones don't come with these problems. Oh yeah, and I can TETHER my phone to my laptop.

Gosh, MS is so evil. Thank GOD we have Google and Apple to show us the CORRECT way.

--Toll_Free

(sarcasm intentional. Yes, I have two WM 6.x phones. Yes, I like them. Yes, I have used an IPhone. Yes, I think the IPhone is overrated, overhyped, and nothing more than successful marketing (my phone does all the IPhone does, does it just as well, doesn't have the incumbrances, has a cheaper rate plan, etc), but that doesn't mean it doesn't have it's place with (what we in the amateur radio community call) appliance operators. No, I haven't used an Android, nor do I see myself wasting money on something else someone else can control.)

YMMV, IANAL, insert other acronyms here. :)

Obligatory Google Reality Check (4, Interesting)

i_want_you_to_throw_ (559379) | about 6 years ago | (#25401705)

Honestly why anyone is surprised at Google acting like a real company is a mystery. Since Google became a publicly traded company they only have one obligation.....

Making stockholders a profit


Few companies set out to do bad deeds but most won't rule them out. Google was supposed to be different. Regarding "Don't be evil"(tm), CEO Eric Schmidt recently clarified the policy saying that it was simply meant as a conversation starter.

Here's Google from good to bad...
+7.1 - Philanthropy
Creating a foundation to fight poverty.
+5.3 - Coddling staff
Establishing on-site day care as an employee perk.
-2.4 - Moral Triage
Giving Brazilian police access to private photo albums on Orkut to assist an investigation into child pornography.The lesser of two evils is still pretty lame
-4.8 - Immaturity
Google's on going smear campaign against Privacy International [google.com] for giving them a last place rank.
-6.7 - Screwing staff
Raising cost of on site day care to $57,000 per year.
-8.3 - Censorship
Instituting keyword filters at the request of the Chinese government. Google's do no evil policy only applies to the U.S.
Source: Wired 16.10

Uh oh.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25401735)

Let's hope windows doesn't follow along with this...look out for automatic uninstall. :)

Myou FAIL it (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25401773)

Sux0r status, *BSD Subscribers. Please parts. The current The top. Or were, blue, ruuber
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