Home >Technology >News >After Mitron, Google removes app taking advantage of anti-China sentiment

NEW DELHI: After removing the controversial Mitron app from the Play Store, Google has now deleted 'Remove China Apps' from the platform as well. This is the second app that was gaining from the anti-Chinese propaganda amid the pandemic that Google has taken down this week.

Remove China Apps claimed to delete all apps coming from Chinese developers from your phone. The app’s developers confirmed that it’s no longer available on Android via their Twitter account. “Dear friends, Google has suspended our #RemoveChinaApps from Google Play Store. Thank you all for your support in the past 2 weeks," the said via a tweet. The tweet also hinted that people could still side-load the app on their Android phones, something that’s always recommended against by security researchers and Google.

We have written to Google for a statement on the removal. The story will be updated to reflect the same when we hear from them.

Remove China Apps had amassed over five million downloads before Google took it down. The app had a simple interface and would scan your phone for apps made by Chinese developers. However, there were questionable aspects about it.

For one, the website for OneTouch AppLabs, who developed the app, seemed to have been registered less than a week ago. Furthermore, the developers had hidden their identity using a domain proxy service, and their seemed to be no record of a company by the same name on the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) registry either.

A report by Techcrunch says that the app was removed because of Google’s Deceptive Behaviour Policy for apps on the Play Store. “We don’t allow apps that attempt to deceive users or enable dishonest behaviour including but not limited to apps which are determined to be functionally impossible," Google says in the literature for this policy. “Apps must provide an accurate disclosure, description and images/video of their functionality in all parts of the metadata and should perform as reasonably expected by the user," the policy adds.

The policy also disallows apps from mimicking “functionality or earnings from the operating system or other apps", which is perhaps the problem with this one. By scanning a user’s phone and deleting apps, Remove China Apps could be taking over functionality meant for the operating system.

The policy is different from the one cited for removing Mitron. That app was removed for violating Google’s Spam and Minimum Functionality policy.

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