Russel Winder's Website

Malice vs. Rights

It seems that Google can remove applications from your Android phone without first asking your permission. Though they do at least do you the courtesy of telling you after such a thing has been completed..

This facility that Google has is being marketing as something to benefit users and protect them against malicious software, and in some sense this is true. However, there is nothing to stop Google from deleting whatever application that they choose to, whenever they want. Are the applications supplied via the Android Market different to those supplied with the device on initial purchase? I have no doubt that anyone downloading an application from the Android Market has been forced to agree that Google has the right to delete the application whenever it wants. Perhaps more interesting is whether they have the same rights over applications supplied at the point of purchase: are the users rights under the Sale of Good Acts abrogated by the Android use licence? I am not a lawyer, so cannot give a view. It will be interesting if the case ever arises!

The obvious question is: can Google be trusted?

It is well known that Apple has the same capability for their products, and Amazon for their's, and indeed both facilities have been used. Can they be trusted?

There seems to be a bit of a trend here: manufacturers maintain control over the products you purchase. Are Google, Apple, Amazon just this centuries incarnation of "Big Brother" (from George Orwell's book 1984).

Where are the user's rights in all this? Nowhere. "Big Brother's" protection of you against malicious software clearly trumps any rights you thought you might have had over the products you thought you owned by paying money for them. It seems the very nature of sale and product are changing. But then I am not a lawyer so cannot say. Interesting issues though.

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