Google has been kept busy this week in India, after all it was involved in removing not one, but two apps from its Play Store. First it was Mitron, and then app called Remove China Apps. Google has pointed out some policy issues with the company but we’re taking a look at the other issues with this platform and the developer who has created the app.
Privacy issue galore
The company says, “we collect following information to provide our services, implement app features, and improve the app performance.” But here’s the thing, when you download the app and look for permission access listed on the app store, you realise they are hiding a lot of things from the users and Google.
Furthermore, OneTouch Labs haven’t disclosed how they use the data stored, and if so, where are they storing them. The concern is for an app claiming to act as a vehicle to download apps from China, what are they planning to do with all this data. What is their end game here?
Google smells trouble
Which brings us to the action taken by Google. The company has accused the app of violating the Deceptive Behaviour policy. “We don’t allow apps that make changes to the user’s device settings or features outside of the app without the user’s knowledge and consent.” As per the policy, apps that “mislead users into removing or disabling third-party apps or modifying device settings or features” will be suspended from the Google Play Store.
This isn’t the first app to raise privacy alarms but for an app claimed to have been downloaded by more than 1 million users in space of 10 days, the limelight it has caught was obvious.
Question marks about developer’s origin
We’ve talked about the app but the company behind the platform projects shady behaviour itself. OneTouch Labs claims they are app developers for both iOS and Android but their product history only shows one app and that’s the one Google has banished from its app store.
The owners of the firm Narendra Kumar Verma and Roopesh Sharma are registered as directors in the company registry. Listing further shows the company incorporated on 25 May 2010, that’s more than 10 years in the industry. And they’ve only got one app to show for after all these years? Sounds fishy.
We ran further checks on the directors of the company, and as things turn out, both Narendra and Roopesh are operating disqualified Director Identification Number (DIN). Ministry registration points out their disqualification period started from 1st Nov 2016 and lasts up to 31 October 2021. The legal reasons state a director is disqualified; if they are insolvent, or going to declare for insolvency. They have been convicted by a court for offences or just failed to acquire a DIN.
All said and done, if you are one of the million to have downloaded the app, we strictly advise you to delete it right away, and clean the cache to make sure it doesn’t have access to data from your device anymore.