our company is considering using the Android platform for future developments. Some folks raised concerns over Google ability to remotely delete applications on the device. they are arguing that if Google can (and did) remotely un-installed apps from a device, than who knows what else they can do. this is a valid concern over the nature of our software (sensitive medical records managment)

is there any way to block Google remote control? for instance by recompiling the OS minus any Google back-doors.

  • Those folks must really not know much about what actually happens in these cases, else they'd be happy that Google does this to protect their future app for "sensitive medical records management" from potential hackers. Mar 9, 2011 at 19:41
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    @Chris: you speak as if it it is widely accepted as absolutely fine and good that a 3rd party (Google, Apple, whoever) be allowed to access your device in your pocket without your knowledge. It is in fact a very controversial subject and given the option, I would be the first to expel them from any device I own and risk "potential hackers". If it was hackers they were worried about, they could have decided to send notifications, e.g. "you seem to be using app X which we consider spyware: remove (yes/no)?". But they didn't, did they? Anyway, user3346's question is valid... Dec 30, 2011 at 23:11

2 Answers 2


When you first used the Android Market, you are presented with Android Market's Term of Service. One of the clauses is this:

2.4 From time to time, Google may discover a Product on the Market that violates the Android Market Developer Distribution Agreement or other legal agreements, laws, regulations or policies. You agree that in such an instance Google retains the right to remotely remove those applications from your Device at its sole discretion and without notice to you.

So, if you want to block Google from using their remote uninstall, you cannot use Android Market. However, note that their Term of Service only allows them to uninstall applications that "violates the Android Market Developer Distribution Agreement", this implies that Google can only uninstall applications that are installed from Market (since an application that was not distributed from the Market never accepted to be bound by the AMDDA, and therefore cannot "violate" the AMDDA). If you sideload your application, Google cannot touch your application.

If your company want to use Android Market but you don't want to allow Google to use their remote uninstall on your company's devices, I suggest you contact Google to make a special TOS agreement.

  • I agree. The only apps they are concerned with are apps downloaded from the market. Without the market app this would not be an issue at all. If you are realyy concerned with compliying to local and federal data security laws for health care providers id contact google. I know that android has been deployed in health care, law enforcement and military applications so I'm sure they have met all the compliance standards.
    – Matt
    Mar 9, 2011 at 16:08
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    It was recently confirmed that they can only remotely remove apps that were installed via the Market: techcrunch.com/2011/03/16/the-android-kill-switch-mea-culpa Mar 17, 2011 at 17:29

It is possible to run android devices without the google apps and thus without a google account. In such cases I don't think google would be able to do anything remotely.

Google could only remotely 'zap' applications because those devises used their market application and the phones would have been associated with a google account.

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    CyanogenMod is a prominent example of living without Google. After C&D letter Google Applications have been removed from the distribution and now must be installed as separate package, including Android Market. The package is installed through Recovery, as it modifies system partition. Jul 31, 2011 at 19:23

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