What’s the difference between a cyborg and an Android? I believe one represents a more human form than the other, putting that aside though, it appears that certain apps on the Android marketplace are being terminated due to being of an alleged malicious nature.
This should be of good news to everyone but when looked at closer it may well have some worrying undertones for the future.
So what’s the problem?
I think we all agree that malicious software benefits nobody but the shady individuals that create it and one could argue that Apple’s app store is a safer place to be. That safety has a price though and that being Apple can and will dictate what software you can have access to. Thats great for lessening the risk of having your phone compromised, not so great if you want an app that performs a function which Apple deems you shouldn’t have.
This article though is not about open marketplace v closed, its more considering that whilst I am sure Goggles actions are entirely honourable, it does not bode well for the future.
It is reported that a list of apps which have been deemed malicious have been removed from the marketplace. It’s quite likely that the vast majority of users will not have even noticed them anyway since regardless of which marketplace you frequent, we all exercise a certain amount of vigilance when choosing what to install. “safe” apps have been known to release a marketing salvo on users installing them and one of the nice things which Android does is try to inform you exactly what the app has access to before you install. Anyone who doesn’t install an app from a position of research and awareness is asking for trouble and unfortunately there are plenty of gullible users out there for malicious software to exploit. It’s a growing market too and as the technically inept (who previously ridiculed those interested in tech) blunder about in cyberspace, they are ripe for the picking, “one born every minute” I think the saying goes.
What I worry about is the announcement that Google has a “kill switch” that delves into your phone and removes it. This is probably great for “Johnny come lately” who quite frankly is a bane on every other users life, these are the people who are online with a Windows machine so stuffed full of infection that it would make a Resident Evil zombie look like it was in good health. IT elitist? Maybe, but these people are responsible for cyberspace being ruined. I wish computing/IT would go back to the 90s, it was far better when the mainstream were not generally as interested.
So thanks to Google for “helping” its users. What happens when the RIAA or similar makes a claim that an app infringes copyright or that an app COULD be used to do so? Are we to see a repeat of the recent actions with the word “torrent” and Google to jump on board with a “more than happy to oblige” attitude?
To me, a far better solution would be to provide a list, award or badge to safe, approved apps and leave the rest on the marketplace with a “user beware” ethos. We are all capable of doing our own research to find out if an app is safe and if there is doubt, then exercise a modicum of common sense and leave well alone.
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