Google can remotely delete Android apps, first test confirms

At their I/O conference earlier this year, Google unveiled many features in the upcoming Android 2.2, named after the next dessert in the alphabet, Froyo. One of the cooler features demonstrated was the ability to download apps from your pc and have your device automatically start downloading it from the market, no physical connection required. To the development crowd, this confirmed that Google had ways to control app behavior remotely, a backdoor much like Microsoft and Apple have that enables them to gain access to their users' mobile devices. While the I/O conference keynote address only displayed the constructive aspects of such a function, they didn't mention that it gives Google a kill switch to remotely delete software as well.

According to the Android Developers Blog, Google used their kill switch for the first time today. A security researcher had created a proof-of-concept app that hid its 'malicious' identity behind a convincing veneer that got users to download it. It wasn't actually malicious and it was just a test. The majority of people who downloaded it immediately uninstalled it after realizing it was basically an empty husk of an app. The researcher removed the app at Google's request, but they decided to put kill switch on its maiden voyage, using the feature to complete the cleanup on users who hadn't yet deleted the software.

According to the blog, the functionality is not meant for basic content management, as apps that violate the Android terms of service are just simply removed from the Android market. The remote deletion is geared towards emergency situations where they see that a malicious piece of software is being quickly propagated among mobile phones.

"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."

Image source: Engadget

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collegeHumorMan said,
I'm sure someone will write an app that will disable that feature.

It's called not using the Market. The whole thing is done through the market. Heck, use an alternate market. Nothing is stopping anyone from creating a new platform for app acquisition. Believe it or not, even the developers agree to this when they post their apps to the market.

Personally I'd prefer Google clean up more than just dangerous apps. At the rate things are going, I'll be switching to WP7 this winter out of sheer frustration with a market made up almost entirely of soft porn, sliding puzzles, and soundboards.

Good god, their open market is one of the most consumer unfriendly executions of a software store I've ever seen.

I just read the article, but even before I did, I was liking the fact google had this abblity for exactly the reason described in the article.

Are people reading the article or you guys just reading the title and freaking out? There is nothing bad about this. And if you really want to make sure you don't lose any apps, download Astro and backup your apps. Jesus Christ you people are really stupid.

Do you guys complain when an AntiVirus deleted a porn movie you just downloaded because it contained a trojan? If it is bad, I'm glad Google is looking out and removing applications that CLEARLY violates there ToS.

This is exactly "1984". Google should now make fun out of itsefl and not Apple, because they are realizing the "1984" ideas.

And calling it "safety" is pure BS - the same way Microsoft could build such a backdoor into Windows and say "it's for security reasons".

I think of myself as quite a Google skeptic, but even I can tell this whole deal is nothing but FUD. Everybody's jumping on the slippery slope bandwagon, despite it being a logical fallacy in any argument. People are coming up with bizarre scenarios that they're dead convinced Google will turn into a reality ANY DAY now unless they're stopped dead in their tracks.

Never mind that this has no impact on manually installed software. These cold, dark fears of Google swooping in and deleting everyone's tethering hacks have no basis in reality unless the software is posted to the market.

"But why should they be forced to hide their apks in forums!!!" you shout, spit flying from your quivering lips. An excellent point! If not for the simple fact that most of these 'subversive' apps only work on rooted phones in the first place, which means--tada!--these users are ALREADY regularly visiting those forums.

Wahhh. WAHHHHHH.

My only concern is if somebody compromises the Google server (not likely I know!!) and starts killing legit apps.

Other than that, it's not like Google hid it from anybody so it's not really a cause for concern.. if it was there for their own agendas then they probably wouldn't have revealed the functionality.

This only affects installs from the Market. Google can send remote uninstall commands to the Market app, not to the phone's PackageManager service (yes, that's a real Android service). I'm sure this kill switch has been known for a while now, it's not new in FroYo.

I'm all up for Google remote killing apps which are extremely detrimental to my every day phone use and life in general - such as trojans etc. The sooner it's off there, the better.

I don't see what the big deal is. If something I downloaded turned out to be a great risk, you bet your ass I wouldn't want it on my phone. Whether or not Google wants to be proactive about it is up to them, but I see little reason to bitch about it unless they started using it for non-emergency purposes.

I think you provided the counterpoint to your comment. The non-emergeny purposes are the concern. For truly malicious code, I'd tend to agree with you. But, giving them the right to uninstall anything allows them to potentially move into more gray areas. Say someone develops an app that can download streams from Youtube or Hulu, and they ask Google to remove the app. What if Nintendo requests that NES emulators be removed? I know this is unlikely, but say a Google goes nuts and doesn't want Adobe flash on their system. Could they remove anything that used flash? Say they went the opposite way and became Adobe's best partner. Could they remove any third party PDF readers?

Now, I know these examples are over the top, and Google isn't likely to do anything like that. But, the fact that they could if they wanted to still is a bit troubling to some people.

dead.cell said,
I don't see what the big deal is. If something I downloaded turned out to be a great risk, you bet your ass I wouldn't want it on my phone. Whether or not Google wants to be proactive about it is up to them, but I see little reason to bitch about it unless they started using it for non-emergency purposes.
They already used it for non-emergency purposes. Read the article.

It wasn't actually malicious

Honestly, I think it's a big worry that doesn't really have much of a foundation. I mean, has Google really been ones to yank content from their users? Not sure if Google can do this, but Mozilla for example can disable any addon put on their blacklist (for Firefox). I know there are some big differences, but the goals seem to be the same.

Beaux said,
They already used it for non-emergency purposes. Read the article.

And why don't you take a read yourself? It was for testing purposes to ensure it would actually work...

dead.cell said,

And why don't you take a read yourself? It was for testing purposes to ensure it would actually work...
No, learn to read. It doesn't say it was a test. It says the app made by a researcher (not by google) was a test. Google used the killswitch on someone else's app that was not malicious. That's non-emergency use.

So wait if Apple did this the Anti-Apple trolls would be all over Apple but since it's Google it's fine? What the hell...

Adamb10 said,
So wait if Apple did this the Anti-Apple trolls would be all over Apple but since it's Google it's fine? What the hell...

Does Google have a rep of controlling their customers and making them do what they decide is best for them?

Adamb10 said,
So wait if Apple did this the Anti-Apple trolls would be all over Apple but since it's Google it's fine? What the hell...

This is the marketplace, you know, the one that actually gives its customers refunds if they download something and it sucks, not the one that tells you what is and isn't appropriate for your phone. It's an open source OS, and the only control they have over your phone is through apps you downloaded through the marketplace, which would mean legit. There is no reason, at all, under those circumstances,for Google to exercise that power except to protect users from a$$holes or huge screw ups.

But yeah, you're right, they're "teh eVil" and zomg how dare people criticize Apple but not Google for utterly different circumstances and motives.

thornz0 said,

This is the marketplace, you know, the one that actually gives its customers refunds if they download something and it sucks, not the one that tells you what is and isn't appropriate for your phone. It's an open source OS, and the only control they have over your phone is through apps you downloaded through the marketplace, which would mean legit. There is no reason, at all, under those circumstances,for Google to exercise that power except to protect users from a$holes or huge screw ups.

But yeah, you're right, they're "teh eVil" and zomg how dare people criticize Apple but not Google for utterly different circumstances and motives.


I've gotten refunds from the App store...

techbeck said,

Does Google have a rep of controlling their customers and making them do what they decide is best for them?

A. your not even a customer so you saying you dont like apple means nothing
B. the customers are customers because they are spending money so clearly what you claim to be evil isnt effecting them as badly as you seem to think.
C. you are not a customer or a shareholder so your opinion really means nothing. the shareholders are making money and the customers are enjoying the product.

SputnikGamer said,

A. your not even a customer so you saying you dont like apple means nothing
B. the customers are customers because they are spending money so clearly what you claim to be evil isnt effecting them as badly as you seem to think.
C. you are not a customer or a shareholder so your opinion really means nothing. the shareholders are making money and the customers are enjoying the product.

A) I order Macs at work. But regardless if I am a customer I can still respond and it doesnt mean my posts mean nothing...maybe mean nothing to you but I really dont care.
B) Nazi Germany had a lot of followers to and they were very profitable with a lot of support. Until they got knocked out of power.
C) Again, I order Macs at work so I am a customer but that really doesnt matter...I can still be informed and make comments.

Go troll someplace else please.

thornz0 said,

This is the marketplace, you know, the one that actually gives its customers refunds if they download something and it sucks, not the one that tells you what is and isn't appropriate for your phone. It's an open source OS, and the only control they have over your phone is through apps you downloaded through the marketplace, which would mean legit. There is no reason, at all, under those circumstances,for Google to exercise that power except to protect users from a$holes or huge screw ups.

But yeah, you're right, they're "teh eVil" and zomg how dare people criticize Apple but not Google for utterly different circumstances and motives.

I wouldnt bash Apple for this the same way I am not bashing Google...UNLESS they abuse it. Google has given no indication that they will use this other than intended.

techbeck said,

I wouldnt bash Apple for this the same way I am not bashing Google...UNLESS they abuse it. Google has given no indication that they will use this other than intended.

you bashed apple for this exact thing. you said you didnt like that apple was telling us what we wanted as consumers. google is taking control of your device and telling you what you dont want on it.

techbeck said,

A) I order Macs at work. But regardless if I am a customer I can still respond and it doesnt mean my posts mean nothing...maybe mean nothing to you but I really dont care.
B) Nazi Germany had a lot of followers to and they were very profitable with a lot of support. Until they got knocked out of power.
C) Again, I order Macs at work so I am a customer but that really doesnt matter...I can still be informed and make comments.

Go troll someplace else please.

your telling me to go troll somewhere else? how bout on the post about the apple store where you are trolling? that sound good?

I see no problem with it as long as it is used as intended. Besides, there are so many devs making roms for androids that this isnt an issue.

techbeck said,
I see no problem with it as long as it is used as intended. Besides, there are so many devs making roms for androids that this isnt an issue.

Custom ROMs aren't prevelant for all phones, and there are tons of phones out there. Sure, it's ok if you have one of the phones that devs support, but not all phones have such support.

FunkTrooper said,

Custom ROMs aren't prevelant for all phones, and there are tons of phones out there. Sure, it's ok if you have one of the phones that devs support, but not all phones have such support.

True...but only the newbs or people who dont have the know how will but those phones. I always choose phones that have a lot of support and can be rooted.

techbeck said,
I see no problem with it as long as it is used as intended. Besides, there are so many devs making roms for androids that this isnt an issue.

Problem with any power like this is many times the people are sold on whatever based on the good intentions and how it will help the people, but that doesn't mean it can't/won't be abused. Very dicey situation that people will need to keep an eye on big time.

JayZJay said,

Problem with any power like this is many times the people are sold on whatever based on the good intentions and how it will help the people, but that doesn't mean it can't/won't be abused. Very dicey situation that people will need to keep an eye on big time.

And Microsoft can kill your product key at anytime and has been able to do so for years...but they have not gone crazy and started to randomly ban keys...only keys that are known to been leaked/abused or posted online for everyone to see.

See all the Microsoft hatred and Apple and Google fanaticism yet they are no better. These are companies people their main objective to is make money. Open source, and not the Google idea of giving away others hard work for free so they can put advertising in it, is the only way forward. We need truly open OS's and apps - ubuntu for phones ?!?! I wonder if canonical can be trusted.

Iridium said,
See all the Microsoft hatred and Apple and Google fanaticism yet they are no better. These are companies people their main objective to is make money. Open source, and not the Google idea of giving away others hard work for free so they can put advertising in it, is the only way forward. We need truly open OS's and apps - ubuntu for phones ?!?! I wonder if canonical can be trusted.

What?! You need to read up a bit more, this is constructive not destructive, jesus christ, I would rather be safe than sorry. Just everyone needs to stop bitching and just deal with things some time. If you dont like it, why dont you spend thousand of hours making your own Mobile OS so you can do what you want to do?

Don't want to do it? Then stop moaning about other people's implementations, Android's rules are much better than say Apple's.

But of course, because its Apple/Google/Microsoft its instantly bad right?

One of the things I don't like about the iPhone is that Apple have some remote-control over it - and now Google does the same to Android...

Though it seems this is only a Froyo feature, at least that's how I understand it.

Lamp Post said,
One of the things I don't like about the iPhone is that Apple have some remote-control over it - and now Google does the same to Android...

Though it seems this is only a Froyo feature, at least that's how I understand it.

It isn't the same - Apple restrict a lot of content that doesn't need to be restricted, like Flash. Apple pretty much regulates on a "it's not okay until we say so" approach to Apps, whereas Google operates on a "it's okay until we say it isn't" approach. This killswitch is only used for apps that you won't actually want on your system anyway, such as viruses and trojans which can steal your data.

Eh, as much as it bothers me I can see the benefit. Android has a pretty much unrestricted developing environment. So if **** hits the fan, most users won't be able to remove it fast enough. This effectively allows Google to "police" Android, similar to how Apple controls it's App Store. I doubt they will use it very often, but in the case it is required. I'm sure people would be thankful. Realistically are you going to be mad at Google for removing an app that stole your credit card information or something similar? Probably not.

However, they could also just create rules for Android, but then there goes their "openness".

I think they should have opted to send a notification to the user warning them of the malicious software and ask them if they would like to uninstall it. If they select no, then warn them of the dangers of selecting no.

Surely this would be easy to remove from a custom ROM, since Android is open source, and all.
I'd imagine something like CyanogenMod would have this “feature” removed.

FunkTrooper said,
Surely this would be easy to remove from a custom ROM, since Android is open source, and all.
I'd imagine something like CyanogenMod would have this “feature” removed.

True, just like my SDX mod removes a lot of the carrier's tracking "features". I think I'd just leave it in place though, I don't see much harm in this implementation.

The Android Market Terms of Service grants Google to remote pull apps from devices. If you sideload or get it through a 3rd pary market, then those ToS don't apply to that app.

Is it just FroYo that is affected by this killswitch? If my phone is ever updated to 2.2 I may just wait for a custom ROM to ship without this functionality (assuming it is only FroYo that's affected).

If it is an application to which Google thinks shouldn't be in the store for one reason or another (Read: objectionable content) then they should remove it, it's a double edged sword. Either leave it there and get shouted at for letting it stay there, or delete it and get shouted at for deleting apps remotely.

Chasethebase said,
If it is an application to which Google thinks shouldn't be in the store for one reason or another (Read: objectionable content) then they should remove it, it's a double edged sword. Either leave it there and get shouted at for letting it stay there, or delete it and get shouted at for deleting apps remotely.
...or...
warn the users that there is malicious code and let them choose whether to use it or delete it. Then no one has any reason for shouting at them.

Beaux said,
...or...
warn the users that there is malicious code and let them choose whether to use it or delete it. Then no one has any reason for shouting at them.
Because that has worked out so well for Microsoft.

As everyone is saying, this is quite the double edged sword. Personally, I'd rather they remove whatever Trojan from user's phones, assuming it's true, rather than allowing it to propagate across every phone stealing who-knows-what information. A lot more people would be burned by the "This is malicious, do you want to continue?" than the automatically removed application.

What I would prefer in these systems is that the application literally be substituted for an application that just lists off the reason(s) that it had to be removed, and maybe suggests (based on category) a few replacements. This would mean that, while the app was really deleted, the rest of the system would appear unchanged, and the user--should they ever choose to launch the app--can see why it was removed and try to find a replacement at that time.

pickypg said,
Because that has worked out so well for Microsoft.

As everyone is saying, this is quite the double edged sword. Personally, I'd rather they remove whatever Trojan from user's phones, assuming it's true, rather than allowing it to propagate across every phone stealing who-knows-what information. A lot more people would be burned by the "This is malicious, do you want to continue?" than the automatically removed application.

What I would prefer in these systems is that the application literally be substituted for an application that just lists off the reason(s) that it had to be removed, and maybe suggests (based on category) a few replacements. This would mean that, while the app was really deleted, the rest of the system would appear unchanged, and the user--should they ever choose to launch the app--can see why it was removed and try to find a replacement at that time.

This.

pickypg said,
Because that has worked out so well for Microsoft.

...and many other anti-virus products, yes, it has worked well.

Personally, I'd rather they remove whatever Trojan from user's phones, assuming it's true,

Examine carefully the grammar of this phrase. There are no errors, but "I do not think it means what you think it means." - IM

rather than allowing it to propagate across every phone stealing who-knows-what information.
By the time they hit the kill switch, it's already done the damage it's going to do.

A lot more people would be burned by the "This is malicious, do you want to continue?" than the automatically removed application.
Who is suggesting "This is malicious, do you want to continue?"? I'm suggesting "This is malicious, do you want to delete?" just like normal malicious code protection (virus protection).

I don't see anyone saying it shouldn't be taken off the app store.

What I would prefer in these systems is that the application literally be substituted for an application that just lists off the reason(s) that it had to be removed, and maybe suggests (based on category) a few replacements. This would mean that, while the app was really deleted, the rest of the system would appear unchanged, and the user--should they ever choose to launch the app--can see why it was removed and try to find a replacement at that time.
This is just asking for all kinds of censorship and monopolistic practices.

Beaux said,
Examine carefully the grammar of this phrase. There are no errors, but "I do not think it means what you think it means." - IM

Oh well. You know exactly what I meant.
Beaux said,
By the time they hit the kill switch, it's already done the damage it's going to do.

Absolutely untrue. There are large numbers of situations where a trojan can lie in wake for much longer, based on specific criteria. Besides, just because you haven't typed in your bank password(s) or other important information, it does not mean you won't in the future. I rarely access that kind of information from my phone, but occasionally I do, and that's when such a thing could nail me.
Beaux said,
Who is suggesting "This is malicious, do you want to continue?"? I'm suggesting "This is malicious, do you want to delete?" just like normal malicious code protection (virus protection).

Semantics: in my version, they hit Yes to continue; in your version, they hit No to continue. Honestly, forcing them to hit "No" is the better question, but that was left up to the reader to determine and I was going for the most obvious question.

Beaux said,
I don't see anyone saying it shouldn't be taken off the app store.

That's a given.

Beaux said,
This is just asking for all kinds of censorship and monopolistic practices.

Giving user's the ability to find alternatives, and to see the actual reason for removal is far from censorship and monopolistic positioning. If a company decides it's time to end its life as the "free" (as in open, not as in price) app carrier, then they are free to change their practices and encroach on various other apps. They could do this at any time without the described feature, and in far eviler ways.

If they were taking down Bing from the Android market (if it's even on there), and listing onl the Google alternative exists for the given app, then yes, that would be pretty bad. But good luck listing that with a legitimate reason in my given example.

My feature is in place of them just removing the application. Between my proposed feature and simply removing, I have no idea how my idea leads to censorship and monopolistic practices. Being forced to give a reason and a dynamic list of alternatives seems like a pretty reasonable way to prevent censorship. There is absolutely nothing they can do with this feature that they can't do by simply saying it's malicious.

Just because it's substituted, does not mean that it has to be deleted. Maybe the user can have the option to still use it after reviewing the reasons. The idea that a message box is enough to stop users from destroying their computers--and now their phones--is as foolhardy as blocking more information from being displayed. Users are dumb, and while they might not grasp the concepts behind "Malicious code" they can grasp whatever "reasons" can be given (for the most part), such as "Steals personal information," "Steals passwords," etc.

Can it be abused? Certainly. Can they abuse the phone that they install the operating system already? Certainly. If you can't trust them not to take apps off of your phone because it's a competitor, or some app censored after the fact, then what are you doing with the phone in the first place?

pickypg said,

Oh well. You know exactly what I meant.
But there's a good point in what you said. You should pay attention to it.

Absolutely untrue. There are large numbers of situations where a trojan can lie in wake for much longer, based on specific criteria. Besides, just because you haven't typed in your bank password(s) or other important information, it does not mean you won't in the future. I rarely access that kind of information from my phone, but occasionally I do, and that's when such a thing could nail me.
But their killswitch won't get rid of the trojan. It'll only get rid of the app that let the trojan in. Letting the trojan in is the damage that's already been done, and their killswitch won't fix that. (Any hacker with truly malicious intent is not going to put the actual trojan code in the app that's in the app store.)


Semantics: in my version, they hit Yes to continue; in your version, they hit No to continue. Honestly, forcing them to hit "No" is the better question, but that was left up to the reader to determine and I was going for the most obvious question.
No, I'm not talking about continuing anything. I'm talking about (and this article is talking about) something initiated by google, not by the user. That's what makes all the difference, because if someone is trying to do something (initiating something) then they're more likely to push whatever button they have to to do whatever it was they we're trying to do. Whereas, if someone just sees something saying they have a virus (malicious code), they're more likely to just hit the "get rid of it" button.


Can it be abused? Certainly. Can they abuse the phone that they install the operating system already? Certainly. If you can't trust them not to take apps off of your phone because it's a competitor, or some app censored after the fact, then what are you doing with the phone in the first place?
Maybe because it's better than all the alternatives. Being better than all the alternatives doesn't mean there's not something wrong.

I'm sorry but I don't like the idea of applications being removed without my auth etc.
What happens if said user purchased the app then it gets removed?

tunafish said,
I'm sorry but I don't like the idea of applications being removed without my auth etc.
What happens if said user purchased the app then it gets removed?

Money back?

Sebianoti said,

Money back?

more like monetary penalty for google. it's simply not legal in most part of the world.

coth said,

more like monetary penalty for google. it's simply not legal in most part of the world.

So you'd want to keep a malicious piece of software that you were stupid enough to purchase in the first place (theoretically, of course. I'm not calling anyone stupid here)?

joemagoe said,

So you'd want to keep a malicious piece of software that you were stupid enough to purchase in the first place (theoretically, of course. I'm not calling anyone stupid here)?

...an alleged malicious piece of software, even when, as the article says, "It wasn't actually malicious".

Yes, I'd prefer to have the choice to keep it or not.

Beaux said,
...an alleged malicious piece of software, even when, as the article says, "It wasn't actually malicious".

Yes, I'd prefer to have the choice to keep it or not.

+1

Beaux said,
...an alleged malicious piece of software, even when, as the article says, "It wasn't actually malicious".

Yes, I'd prefer to have the choice to keep it or not.

Interesting. So if you DL'd an app that started randomly texting a link to some malware to all of your contacts, which then propogates itself accordingly... you want the choice to keep this on your phone?

Sorry, but get that crap away from my phone. Your irresponsibility potentially affects others. As long as they arent heavy handed about its use, i see nothing wrong with this approach to keeping our phones safe.

pmac1328 said,

Interesting. So if you DL'd an app that started randomly texting a link to some malware to all of your contacts, which then propogates itself accordingly... you want the choice to keep this on your phone?

Sorry, but get that crap away from my phone. Your irresponsibility potentially affects others. As long as they arent heavy handed about its use, i see nothing wrong with this approach to keeping our phones safe.


Have you ever heard of false positives? AV software reports lots of legitimate files as mallware, viruses, etc. But they do give you the option to keep those files, in case they're wrong. Take some keygen for example, it's almost always reported as trojan & stuff, but that's because of the .exe packing.

TDT said,
Have you ever heard of false positives? AV software reports lots of legitimate files as mallware, viruses, etc. But they do give you the option to keep those files, in case they're wrong. Take some keygen for example, it's almost always reported as trojan & stuff, but that's because of the .exe packing.

False positive? Nope never heard of 'em. Yeah that's a sarcastic response to your absurd rhetorical question.

The community will quickly identify the few false positives and bring it to Google's attention. Unlike Apple which only pays attention to threats from lawyers, Google listens to us end users.

Peas said,

False positive? Nope never heard of 'em. Yeah that's a sarcastic response to your absurd rhetorical question.

The community will quickly identify the few false positives and bring it to Google's attention. Unlike Apple which only pays attention to threats from lawyers, Google listens to us end users.


Wow, a Google fanboy. I thought those guys were extinct.
And it wasn't a rhetorical question, judging from your tone and responses, it's much likely you don't have a clue about what false positives are.

manosdoc said,
Apple and Google will also soon need DNA samples to use their products.

I could see the connection to Apple with your statement, but not so much to Google. While I would agree that it is mildly concerning for them to have this type of control, to date they haven't done anything to make me second guess their intentions and have frankly been quite open about what they're doing and why (unlike Apple).

Just my two cents.

vaximily said,

I could see the connection to Apple with your statement, but not so much to Google. While I would agree that it is mildly concerning for them to have this type of control, to date they haven't done anything to make me second guess their intentions and have frankly been quite open about what they're doing and why (unlike Apple).

Just my two cents.

Why is it a concern? At least for Google? Apple? That's a whole different story, because of their anti-competitive and censoring of applications. But Google is only trying to keep the system more Secure. If they get an App in the Market that is like a Terrorist Cell and suddenly starts causing problems, they can remove it. Seems to me that you would want them to be able to do that if it took control of your phone.

All the people going after Google for trying to help make your phone better or increase security need to get a grip. Every Service provider and some phone makers have had this ability for 10 yrs with Java Apps or in BREW!