Man that’s a hell lot of stuff Google is doing. First, Google’s Andy Rubin aka the Droid-Man, announced that they are activating about 160,000 Android devices a day or roughly two devices every second. Then they made the code for Android 2.2 (Froyo) open source, which means that we will finally see the latest Android OS being delivered to Android devices. Yup, the Nexus One over-the-air update has already begun.
However, the biggest use from Googleplex has been their use of a remote kill switch to wipe off an application from Android phones.
“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, per the Android Market Terms of Service, to exercise our remote application removal feature on the remaining installed copies to complete the cleanup.”
Now why would Google make such a big fuss about an app that did nothing and probably was not installed in more than a few dozen phones? I think it has more to do with Google telling users that Android is a safe platform and Google has control over the Android Market since critics have been raising questions about how secure Android is considering that virtually anyone can easily get their app on the Market and hence, into the phones of millions of unsuspecting Android users.
“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.”
Instead of demonstrating how Google can remotely wipe some nondescript app (notice that Google has not revealed any details of the ‘researcher’ in question or even the name of the app), it would serve both Google and users of Android phones if Google spent more time ensuring that only genuine apps pass through into the market and cr-apps or malware stays out. Yes, Android is supposed to be an open world, but I don’t things users will mind if the streets are kept clean.