Exercising Our Remote Application Removal Feature

A friend of mine shared an interesting blog entry from the Android Developer Blog on Buzz. Here some excerpts:
Exercising Our Remote Application Removal Feature

Every now and then, we remove applications from Android Market due to violations of our Android Market Developer Distribution Agreement or Content Policy. In cases where users may have installed a malicious application that poses a threat, we’ve also developed technologies and processes to remotely remove an installed application from devices. If an application is removed in this way, users will receive a notification on their phone. [...]

The remote application removal feature is one of many security controls Android possesses to help protect users from malicious applications. In case of an emergency, a dangerous application could be removed from active circulation in a rapid and scalable manner to prevent further exposure to users. While we hope to not have to use it, we know that we have the capability to take swift action on behalf of users’ safety when needed.

This remote removal functionality — along with Android’s unique Application Sandbox and Permissions model, Over-The-Air update system, centralized Market, developer registrations, user-submitted ratings, and application flagging — provides a powerful security advantage to help protect Android users in our open environment.

Source: Android Developer Blog
(The highlighting in the quote is mine.) From a pure technological, tech-Android-programmer point of view I'd say "yah, damn cool". I mean, this is no doubt a very powerful feature. Suppose some malware will be distributed and Google knows about it. Without you even to take note about the potential danger they'll remove it from all of their devices and keep their platform safe and clean. Nice, isn't it? On the other side it leaves some strange feeling which most of us will have when knowing that others can remotely control your device. Naturally questions arise whether this is the only thing they can do remotely...

However, given the open-minded strategy which is driving the evolution of the Android platform, this is probably the only way to be able to keep it under control, to - from time to time when it becomes necessary - do some corrective countermeasures.

Instead, Apple's strategy on the App Store is a completely opposed one. It is a closed world where applications have to pass a long-lasting approval process governed by Apple itself. This has often been criticized but they seem to do a good job so far in keeping their platform clean and secure.

What do you think? Which is the better/more suitable approach and why??



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