However this week, Google removed two applications from its Android Market, and flicked a switch that remotely deleted the apps user’s phones.
The search engine did not reveal the names of the applications and said only that they were “two free applications built by a security researcher for research purposes.”
Rich Cannings, Android security lead, said the two apps were found to be “intentionally misrepresenting their purpose in order to encourage user downloads.”
They were not designed to be used maliciously, and did not have permission to access private data, he said.
Google has made no secret that it has a remote kill switch for Android applications. It only uses it, it claims, if the security of the phone is threatened.
However in this case the applications were not. In fact, Google said these apps did not pose any threat and were “practically useless.”
Most users deleted them shortly after downloading, Google claimed.
Which makes us wonder why Google bothered doing something as controversial as deleting them from people’s phones.
Maybe it is a message to security outfits not to try its patience with bogus apps.
It is not inconceivable that a security outfit might write some code for Android apps in the hope of later revealing to the world+dog how insecure the mobile OS is.
This would explain why Google added to its statement that its kill switch “provides a powerful security advantage to help protect Android users in our open environment.”