Google Also Includes 'Kill Switch' for Apps in Android

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Reviews of the T-Mobile G1 Android phone have started trickling out. Walt Mossberg found the phone to be a "very good first effort".

Computerworld reveals, however, that the new Android phone also includes the ability for Google to remotely remove applications from the device:
In the Android Market terms of service, Google expressly says that it might remotely remove an application from user phones. "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," the terms, linked to from the phone, read.
Apple received some negative press after it was revealed that the iPhone included the ability to remotely deactivate applications. Jobs later defended this ability:

"Hopefully we never have to pull that lever, but we would be irresponsible not to have a lever like that to pull"

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themoonisdown09

macrumors 601
Nov 19, 2007
4,319
15
Georgia, USA
A feature like this should make the users feel more safe... until they go to use an application one day and it's gone. I wonder if the user is notified before or after the application is removed.

By the way... I'm not against this feature at all, I'm just wondering.
 

pismodude2

macrumors 6502a
Jan 22, 2008
666
0
MacWorld
I'm with Jobs on this one. If someone made an app that uploads a virus onto whatever network it is connected to... Flip the switch guys.
 

Lo Aul

macrumors member
Sep 22, 2008
33
0
New Jersey
I don't see how these 'kill switches' are worthy of press. It's a simple concept. If an application happens to skip the radar and it has some sort of malicious tendency, then yes, I don't think anyone would disagree, it should be removed from all devices immediately in order to save the users of the device from a mass of trouble.
 

TheNorthWaves

macrumors 6502
Oct 13, 2007
329
18
USA
it just depends how much they care to be control freaks. That's all that matters, not the presence or absence of the switch.
 

fluidedge

macrumors 65816
Nov 1, 2007
1,365
16
Why is walt mossberg always the oracle on all things electrical? Why should anyone give 2 tosses what he thinks about anything.
 

BillyShears

macrumors 6502
Jan 30, 2003
312
0
It is a big deal

It's a big deal because, to my knowledge, they don't have these killswitches in Mac OS X or in Windows. With personal computers, we have the model where the user is responsible for their own system, and the vendor has no say in what runs or doesn't. Whether or not you think the killswitches are a good idea, it's still a big deal because you have a change in the application model.

To people defending the killswitches, I guess you would have to say you would want one on your Mac too, or explain why mobile phones are different from personal computers.
 

dernhelm

macrumors 68000
May 20, 2002
1,644
117
middle earth
What happened to do no evil? Wasn't Apple called evil for having such an ability? Now Google is evil as well? EVIL EVIL EVIL!

Who's left now? Microsoft? I bet you'll never see something like this on the Zune!

:D;)
 

Rybold

macrumors 6502a
Jun 23, 2008
960
0
California, USA
.
I think you posted this on the wrong website. This is the iPhone news forum, on the MacRumors website. :)

I think you meant to go to GoogleRumors.com. Please remove this thread and repost it in the proper section.

................................... :apple:
 

thejadedmonkey

macrumors G3
May 28, 2005
8,219
1,231
Pennsylvania
It's a big deal because, to my knowledge, they don't have these killswitches in Mac OS X or in Windows. With personal computers, we have the model where the user is responsible for their own system, and the vendor has no say in what runs or doesn't. Whether or not you think the killswitches are a good idea, it's still a big deal because you have a change in the application model.

To people defending the killswitches, I guess you would have to say you would want one on your Mac too, or explain why mobile phones are different from personal computers.
Have you seen how much spyware/ad-ware there is for Windows?

and I feel like this is carrier imposed, not google imposed, to protect their network.
 

Adjei

macrumors 6502
Sep 23, 2008
354
0
But when Apple does it's because they are some evil closed system, as I said previously this Android, it's not what it's made to be, if people think it's some sort of free for all where anything goes, they'll surely be disspaointed.
 

pismodude2

macrumors 6502a
Jan 22, 2008
666
0
MacWorld
To people defending the killswitches, I guess you would have to say you would want one on your Mac too, or explain why mobile phones are different from personal computers.
iPhone apps come approved by Apple, and are distributed through their App Store, so they can be held liable if someone makes an app to steal personal info or wreck your phone, as they approve all of their apps.

In the case of computers, Apple and Microsoft can't be held liable if you are stupid enough to download an app that damages your computer.

Although the 'kill switch' is obviously a down side, I would rather that than no App Store full of safe apps.
 

maelstromr

macrumors 6502
Aug 8, 2002
418
190
Charlottesville, VA
It's a big deal because, to my knowledge, they don't have these killswitches in Mac OS X or in Windows. With personal computers, we have the model where the user is responsible for their own system, and the vendor has no say in what runs or doesn't. Whether or not you think the killswitches are a good idea, it's still a big deal because you have a change in the application model.

To people defending the killswitches, I guess you would have to say you would want one on your Mac too, or explain why mobile phones are different from personal computers.
Because the national phone network is a hell of a lot more important than your home gaming machine? Because spysweeper and antivirus programs are commmon and well-understood in most computers systems but non-existant and difficult to push on consumers for their ipod/phone? Because carriers are opening themselves up like never before and need to make sure nothing pops up out there that disables their entire business?
 

ariel

macrumors regular
Sep 15, 2003
149
8
iPhone apps come approved by Apple, and are distributed through their App Store, so they can be held liable if someone makes an app to steal personal info or wreck your phone, as they approve all of their apps.

In the case of computers, Apple and Microsoft can't be held liable if you are stupid enough to download an app that damages your computer.

Although the 'kill switch' is obviously a down side, I would rather that than no App Store full of safe apps.
Even tho Apple "approves" every app, that doesn't mean that some time based event couldn't be placed into an app that caused something to happen -- and that couldn't be tested by Apple. They don't read the code behind the app after all.

I really don't see why people think this insurance policy is so "evil"
 

Abstract

macrumors Penryn
Dec 27, 2002
24,428
139
Location Location Location
Doesn't matter. I trust Google more than Apple when it comes to abusing their position in shutting down apps, or not allowing some to be installed at all. Apple has abused their position, and Google has said they won't police apps heavily.
 

maelstromr

macrumors 6502
Aug 8, 2002
418
190
Charlottesville, VA
Doesn't matter. I trust Google more than Apple when it comes to abusing their position in shutting down apps, or not allowing some to be installed at all. Apple has abused their position, and Google has said they won't police apps heavily.
Hm. "Apple policed, and google says they will but hasn't, so I think Google is better."

Ok...what's the justification that google is a "better" company? You are talking about that company that is eating competitors as quickly as possible and reads/categorizes your mail.
 

eastcoastsurfer

macrumors 6502a
Feb 15, 2007
600
27
Doesn't matter. I trust Google more than Apple when it comes to abusing their position in shutting down apps, or not allowing some to be installed at all. Apple has abused their position, and Google has said they won't police apps heavily.
I'm with you. Apple has already shown the apps they will arbitrarily disallow, and it doesn't look good. I'll withhold my judgement on Google until they do something as dumb as Apple.
 

velocityg4

macrumors 603
Dec 19, 2004
5,165
1,667
Georgia
Even tho Apple "approves" every app, that doesn't mean that some time based event couldn't be placed into an app that caused something to happen -- and that couldn't be tested by Apple. They don't read the code behind the app after all.

I really don't see why people think this insurance policy is so "evil"
Because they are no longer simply a software provider. This means they are invading your privacy by having control over the contents of your phone.

What if the program is harmless but is just gives your phone a capability they do not think it should have? They can remove that as well.

Even though it is hand held it is still a computer. How would you like it if Apple decided they no longer wanted you to use Microsoft Office and decided to remotely remove it from your computer, I'll bet you would be quite angry.

That being said it is not the "protecting the consumer from malicious software" that I find objectionable. It is the we are actively invading your private hand held computer, which also can make phone calls, and can make modifications to your device whether you like it or not. Further it indicates they can remotely scan your contents without your consent. Who knows what other information they are "checking" besides software installed?

Don't kid yourself the only differences between the Android, iPhone or any other similar device and a 90's PC with a voice data modem for phone calls is the size, mobility and software. Each is a Personal computer with phone call capabilities.
 

macsmurf

macrumors 65816
Aug 3, 2007
1,199
848
Because they are no longer simply a software provider. This means they are invading your privacy by having control over the contents of your phone.
Why is that invasion of privacy? Invasion of privacy is someone gaining knowledge about your private life that you don't wan't them to have. What Google are talking about is essentially an automatic malware remover.

What if the program is harmless but is just gives your phone a capability they do not think it should have? They can remove that as well.
They could, but of course that would be abusing their power. Let's give them the benefit of the doubt until they start abusing that power like Apple does :)

Even though it is hand held it is still a computer. How would you like it if Apple decided they no longer wanted you to use Microsoft Office and decided to remotely remove it from your computer, I'll bet you would be quite angry.
But of course Office isn't traditionally thought of as malware so your example does not make sense.

That being said it is not the "protecting the consumer from malicious software" that I find objectionable. It is the we are actively invading your private hand held computer, which also can make phone calls, and can make modifications to your device whether you like it or not. Further it indicates they can remotely scan your contents without your consent. Who knows what other information they are "checking" besides software installed?
So what you find objectionable is that the OS maker has the ability to invade your privacy. Well, I'm afraid that you're going to live with that because that is true of any OS on any platform.
 

Small White Car

macrumors G4
Aug 29, 2006
10,920
1,209
Washington DC
To people defending the killswitches, I guess you would have to say you would want one on your Mac too, or explain why mobile phones are different from personal computers.
Here's why they are different:

If my computer needs to go to the repair shop for a week, I'll borrow someone else's computer and manage to get by. It happens.

If my cell phone stops receiving calls for just 2 hours I will start thinking about switching providers. If that happens 2 or 3 times I will DEFINITELY be changing carrier and/or phone models. I don't think I'm the only one who feels this way.

This is a pretty big freak'n difference which makes your attempt to equate the two platforms rather silly. It's like saying that my tolerance for engine failure should be the same for both a car and an airplane. Yeah, they're both engines, but it's not the same thing!
 
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