Android kill switch: Is Google evil?

Google's new Android phone includes a "kill switch," allowing the company to delete applications purchased from the Android Market. I don't trust Google,

Android kill switch: Is Google evil?

Google's new Android phone includes a "kill switch," allowing the company to delete applications users purchase from the Android Market. Frankly, I don't trust Google's intentions.

Computer World describes the situation:

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.

Some Google users, including ZDNet's Christopher Dawson, call the company a friend; others question whether Google lives up to its "do no evil" corporate mantra. For example, Dennis Howlett blogged about Google's original license (which they later modified) for its Chrome browser:

[Y]ou give Google a perpetual, irrevocable, worldwide, royalty-free and non-exclusive license to reproduce, adapt, modify, translate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute any Content that you submit, post or display on or through the Services.

Dennis believes this license provision represents:

a cynical disregard for IP rights [that] is dangerous because it strikes directly at the heart of what corporations consider confidential.

Supporting this position, when I wrote "Google is NOT your friend," one commenter said:

Chrome was developed to ensure that user data would still be available for Google to use. Since upcoming browsers are now going to incorporate stronger privacy protection that limits Google's access to these data, they decided to roll out a half-baked browser.... Google is definitely NOT you friend.

Although the iPhone also includes a software kill switch, which also sucks, Apple isn't amassing enormous concentrations of personal data. Google's invasive threat to personal privacy, on other hand, grows day by day.

If the remote kill switch is so important, why doesn't the Blackberry have one? Apparently, Google (and Apple) just love super-user powers.

Of course, Google would never use those powers for evil purposes. Or would they?

[Image via grokdotcom.]

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