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Google Handhelds Privacy Technology

Google Bans Sale of Android Spying App 415

Posted by samzenpus
from the what-are-you-writing-there dept.
dbune writes "Google is not letting a handset application that spies on someone's text messages be sold at its Android App Store. The Secret SMS Replicator developed by DLP Mobile to help lovers find out if their partners are cheating on them violates company policy, according to Google. The app works by secretly duplicating incoming text messages and forwarding these to another mobile phone number."
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Google Bans Sale of Android Spying App

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  • by Pojut (1027544) on Tuesday November 02, 2010 @11:09AM (#34100872) Homepage

    Seriously? You're example is the removal of a malicious app?

  • iPhone version? (Score:5, Informative)

    by ceejayoz (567949) <cj@ceejayoz.com> on Tuesday November 02, 2010 @11:09AM (#34100882) Homepage Journal

    DLP Mobile also tried to sell the app on Apple's iPhone app store but was rejected.

    I doubt that. The iPhone walls off SMS messages from apps. Apple can't have rejected it - you can't write it.

  • by Pojut (1027544) on Tuesday November 02, 2010 @11:16AM (#34100970) Homepage

    Correct, provided you don't have a carrier-locked-down Android phone that prevents you from installing apps from sources other than the official market (though that kind of thing is quite rare...I believe there are only a couple out of the myriad of Android devices set up like this.)

  • Re:Not so obvious... (Score:2, Informative)

    by potHead42 (188922) on Tuesday November 02, 2010 @11:25AM (#34101124)
    You missed the point where Android doesn't have a monopolistic app store, so you're free to get this spyware through other legal channels.
  • Re:iPhone version? (Score:5, Informative)

    by ceejayoz (567949) <cj@ceejayoz.com> on Tuesday November 02, 2010 @11:28AM (#34101158) Homepage Journal

    Anyhow, it's not like Android doesn't warn you - isn't that widely approved "permission list" that it pops up going to tell you it has access to SMS and the like?

    If you have access to someone else's phone to install this spyware, you have access to approve the SMS permissions on install. The person being spied on gets no warning.

    Finally, I think it's an app that has been marketed truthfully.

    It's an app designed to be installed on someone else's phone without their consent.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 02, 2010 @11:32AM (#34101236)

    The phone is open, not the Android Market. You can put apps on your Android phone without using a market, or you can install any number of markets not run by Google which may or may not let you sell anything you want. The official, Google run Android Market is not open and has never pretended to be. It's not nearly as closed as the Apple market, in that there's no preapproval process and there's very few things that will get you pulled, but Google reserves the right to pull whatever they want whenever they want.

  • Re:Not so obvious... (Score:3, Informative)

    by hedwards (940851) on Tuesday November 02, 2010 @11:45AM (#34101432)
    A frequent use of this sort of technology is to tighten the grip that an abuser has on the abused. It allows the perpetrator to monitor communications and when tied in with GPS and such it makes it possible for the abused to be in society but unable to communicate freely.

    There is no legitimate reason for this technology to be used without a court order. If you can't get a judge to sign off on it, then you shouldn't be doing it. There is no grey area involved. We have the 4th amendment for a reason.

    The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

    While that only applies between the citizens and the government, the government at various levels has passed laws providing that protection to the citizens.

  • Re:And so it begins (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anomalyx (1731404) on Tuesday November 02, 2010 @12:11PM (#34101806)
    I have a hunch that this pull has nothing to do with openness and everything to do with avoiding a lawsuit for facilitation of wiretapping.

    I'd still call the Android Market pretty open. The platform as a whole is still quite open, considering you can easily install apps without going through the Market - Just download the installer and run it on the phone and you have it again. All that really happened here was getting de-listed from the Market.
  • by the_humeister (922869) on Tuesday November 02, 2010 @12:15PM (#34101862)

    That would be AT&T. But there is still a way around that by downloading the Android SDK (apk tool that is in there). No need for rooting.

  • by cgenman (325138) on Tuesday November 02, 2010 @12:38PM (#34102156) Homepage

    The Wii has a great system where it just records daily activity to a friendly little log, and stamps Mario's smile on it. There is no way to delete it, alter it, move it, or whatnot. And they put it in its own friendly little calendar view where file activities like faking your usage or deleting the log doesn't really come up. They've invisibly made it completely natural that the system records what you do, and that you can't do anything about it.

  • by unjedai (966274) on Tuesday November 02, 2010 @12:41PM (#34102196)
    That is, "correct your damned English."
  • by index0 (1868500) on Tuesday November 02, 2010 @02:11PM (#34103612)
    Unless you have a smart kid and knows that if you start the wii in maintenance mode (hold - and +, then press A at health warning screen) the games you play are not logged.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 02, 2010 @05:26PM (#34105902)

    Sorry to disappoint you, but you don't have "children of your own." If they are troublesome teens and you've been the step-father for a few years, they were already broken when you bought them. I believe that if you are a good parent from when they are babies, and they are born without physical defects (chemical imbalance, diminished capacity), you can raise intelligent, pleasant, successful, trouble-free children with 100% confidence. If you enter the picture after age ten, you may just be repainting a burning building.

    Not saying what you're saying is false, but that's one of the most insensitive things I've read in a long time. If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all.

  • by wrook (134116) on Tuesday November 02, 2010 @08:45PM (#34107530) Homepage

    I can sympathize with your plight. It's not a situation I would like to be in. I can also understand your attitude that there is no tool that can not be used given the circumstances. The worst that could possibly happen has already happened, so there is no way you could have made it worse.

    But even given the above, I wonder if there still isn't another perspective that might be useful. Before I say anything, I will admit first that I have no right to say anything at all. I don't know the details of the issue. I am the last person who could judge such a situation. But since you have kindly volunteered your insight into such a difficult situation, I hope I can return the favor by giving you my ideas, whether they be right or wrong.

    For a tool to be useful, it must be effective. You assume that had you read your daughter's suicide note that an intervention would have been more likely. But had you stopped her attempt, can you be sure that the outcome would have been better? It seems that happily your daughter survived. There is a big difference between a person who has survived a suicide attempt and a person who committed themselves to dieing and was stopped.

    Even if it was luck that allowed her to survive, she may very well be in a better place now having followed through with her convictions than if she had been stopped. If you had spied on her and stopped her, it is entirely possible that such a betrayal would have soured any possibility of recovery. And knowing that she was being watched, she could have made a second attempt much more difficult to discover.

    I don't have kids. But I have helped with a friend's family when he was away with the military. I also work as a high school teacher now. It seems to me that there is a time when children are open to receiving input from their parents and a time when they are closed. As they become teenagers, the time for input diminishes. I personally believe that no matter who the person is, the only effective tool when they are a teenager is trust. And while you might be able to control a horrible situation like you describe better without that trust, I suspect that your ability to influence the person will diminish. Without that influence the situation could very possibly be worse that what you have now.

    Just my 2 cents. Of course there are no right and wrong answers in life. But I hope my thoughts proved useful to you even if you don't agree with them. I sincerely wish you good luck in the future!

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