Google remotely deletes Android apps

Dud apps removed from Marketplace and handsets

... But not in an 'evil' way.

The apps in question were non-malicious duds created by a security researcher that intentionally misled Android users as to their purpose. Once downloaded, the apps did nothing, so most users deleted them anyway, according to Google.

The researcher, working independently, was contacted by Google and agreed to have the apps removed from the Android Marketplace. Shortly after, Google made use of what it jovially refers to as a "kill switch", which remotely uninstalled the app from any Android-based smartphones whose users had not already deleted it themselves.

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Google explained that the purpose of the kill switch is to remove apps from the Marketplace that may be malicious, so as to prevent spread. In this case, Google claim that the apps, while harmless, jibed with their acceptable use policy of the Marketplace by failing to provide the service they advertised.

Deletions from the Android Marketplace are relatively infrequent, and usually only happen for technical reasons. This in stark comparison to Apple's App Store, on which the war on pornography continues...