Google admits Android “kill switch”

Google has a remote “kill switch” that can be used to disable any application running on Android devices, it has emerged.
Within a terms and service document released by the company is an admission that it has the ability to stop any instance of a program running, a feature intended for use to protect users against malicious code.

“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,” explains the document.

Google has said that if it has to use the switch it will attempt to refund customers who have purchased the application in question, and recoup the money from the develop.

However, despite the fact that the company has been open about the feature, it may cost it potential customers.

“I for one would never purchase or support a device that had a kill switch,” complains one poster on the Google Android discussion forum.

Earlier this year it emerged that Apple had also installed such a mechanism in version 2.0 onwards of the iPhone firmware.

“Hopefully we never have to pull that lever, but we would be irresponsible not to have a lever like that to pull,” says Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple, at the time.

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