back to article Indian app that deleted Chinese apps from Androids deleted from Play Store

Google has removed an app called "Remove China Apps" from its Android Play Store. The app, published by Indian developer OneTouch AppLabs, advised Android users of the nation of origin for all apps installed on their smartphone and offered to delete them. The company says the app was downloaded a million times in ten days, a …

  1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    Remove China Apps

    Well, at least it did what it says on the tin.

    That's more than can be said for quite a lot of Play Store apps, I think.

    1. IGotOut Silver badge

      Re: Remove China Apps

      Actually it didn't. Preinstalled apps remained on the device.

      1. sketharaman

        Re: Remove China Apps

        OIC I didn't know that!

  2. iron Silver badge

    I've seen a number of posts about this app decrying Google for banning it but from what I can tell looking at screenshots it violates several Play store policies. If I can tell that from screenshots imagine what else it must be violating. The surprising thing is that it was published in the first place.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Not contradicting you, I'm really asking - which policies were violated? The detail wasn't spelled out in the article.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        The more recent article spells it out:

        '...the digital bazaar’s policies do not allow “Apps that encourage or incentivize users into removing or disabling third-party apps or modifying device settings or features unless it is part of a verifiable security service.” '

        In other words, the core purpose of the app is against the policy, which is why it was removed.

  3. Mark192 Bronze badge

    You'd have thought China was at a level where the economic gain from good relations was vastly greater than the gain from 'winning' a border dispute.

    1. IGotOut Silver badge

      Falklands

      Gibraltar

      Palestine

      Kashmir

      Just a few.

      Never underestimate the desire for territory.

      1. wolfetone

        It'd be too easy to go further with the above list and point out the common denominator in all of those disputes.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          the common denominator in all of those disputes.

          Humans?

          1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

            1. abs

              Re: the common denominator in all of those disputes.

              I feel that your post incites hatred and gives ammunition to those who discriminate. Hope that The Register do something about it.

            2. First Light Bronze badge

              Re: the common denominator in all of those disputes.

              Ooh, there was me thinking it was the British, but hey, blaming Muslims always works.

              I don't seem to remember much Islamic presence in Las Malvinas, however.

              1. wolfetone

                Re: the common denominator in all of those disputes.

                "Ooh, there was me thinking it was the British, but hey, blaming Muslims always works.

                I don't seem to remember much Islamic presence in Las Malvinas, however."

                That's exactly the point I was making. And it's disgraceful really that the anti-Islam post seems to be fairly popular here.

                It's a bad day when El Reg becomes infested by Trump supporting right wing bigots.

                1. abs
                  Pint

                  Re: the common denominator in all of those disputes.

                  Glad that they took action. El Reg is my go to place for tech news ever since I discovered the BOFH is hosted here. Or should I say that the BOFH allowed them to host him here.

                  Cheers to the team!

                  P.S. I know it's a lot to ask, but any chance of getting a cup of tea icon? A few pints of apple juice can be a bit much on a night out. Especially if you've had a smoke ;)

                2. AK565

                  Re: the common denominator in all of those disputes.

                  Agreed with an upvote.

                  I'd like to add that 'Islam' is nearly as broad a label as 'Christianity'. Just as some Christian groups regard other Christian groups as heretical, so do some groups within Islam.

                  Example: a few years back several imams from a rather strict variety of Islam showed up uninvited at the Polish mosque in Brooklyn, NY, US and told the Imam there he was doing things 'wrong' and tried to 'correct' the situation. The Polish imam sent them on their way quite quickly.

                  Yes, Poland has had Muslims since the 1400's or so. Most of them lived in the areas the Soviets took after WWII.

              2. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

                Re: the common denominator in all of those disputes.

                I suppose we had the Gurkhas, what are they, religiously speaking? If you're looking for it.

                1. pradeepvasudev

                  Re: the common denominator in all of those disputes.

                  Hindus. They are hard-core Hindus. In fact until about 15 years ago, nepal was the only Hindu nation in the world. India is secular, btw, and now nepal is too.

          2. Qumefox

            Re: the common denominator in all of those disputes.

            Humans ruin everything.

        2. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

          Still, there must be some places in the world where Great Britain isn't the number one hated former overlord. Hmm.. Belgian Congo sounds promising... but still, hard to be sure.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Sadly theres something weird about 'land' - nations get obsessed and will quite happily spend gadzillions of pounds defending or attacking their neighbours over 'soverignty '. Sometimes you can see a glimmer of rationality when the land is populated or has mineral resources, but far too often the fights are over barren hilltops or slips in a Victorian draftsman's pencil.

      What other examples can you think of a country being prepared to sacrifice its economy on the altar of 'winning' a dispute?

      1. slimshady76
        Mushroom

        Pink Floy summarized it pretty well in "The Final Cut". It's all about some wealthy, self entitled "leaders" forcing the commons to go on war over some distant piece of land they didn't even know existed...

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VKqCknCOllg

        1. BenM 29
          Thumb Up

          Roger was indeed prescient...

      2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        "or slips in a Victorian draftsman's pencil."

        It's just local planning decisions writ large. You'll even find neighbours ending up in court or at fisticuffs over a fence that's been built an inch over the boundary.

    3. First Light Bronze badge

      Chairman Xi is going to the time-honoured practice of stirring up an external enemy when your internal support is suffering. What with the HK protestors continuing to stick it to the mainland, and the massive disaster that was COVID-19 which has damaged China's reputation not to mention killed untold thousands of its people, he needs a foreign adventure to wipe it all away.

      1. IGotOut Silver badge

        I think you need to do a bit of history reading.

        This disputed area has been around for quite some time, once again down to us Brits deciding arbitrarily deciding what be of land belongs to who. The Chinese weren't even asked.

        And as for his rating being low? That's a very developed western centric view. Many parts of Africa for example, are extremely happy with the Chinese. Wether that will last, is still be seen.

  4. Packet

    What horrid security Android has to allow this in the first place

    I'll say it again - Android is garbage.

    How can one user app delete another app?

    What sort of exotic root permissions are being given to the app to do this?

    And if they can delete the app, then what else can they do possibly without the user knowing?

    1. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

      Re: What horrid security Android has to allow this in the first place

      Maybe it just "legally" launches the app store and gives the user the option to delete the nominated other apps.

      Or, yes, maybe it uses an illegal hack of Android.

      I don't know and neither do you, and probably neither of us ever will.

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: What horrid security Android has to allow this in the first place

      How is that different to any other OS? The user has permission to delete any user data. An app is just user data that the user chose to install. If the user choose to install a "clean up" app, then that app can do anything a user can do. There are plenty of apps out there that will tell you about unused or iffy apps and suggest that you delete then if you don't need them and will then do so when you authorise it by clicking OK. As mentioned further up, this apps seems to have a number of faults which take it outside the Playstore T&Cs, but the ability to delete apps is not one of them.

    3. IGotOut Silver badge

      Re: What horrid security Android has to allow this in the first place

      It didn't remove them, just highlighted them

    4. sketharaman

      Re: What horrid security Android has to allow this in the first place

      I have installed and used this app. It does not delete anything. The app only lists apps it calls China apps. It gives me the option to delete the listed apps. If I don't exercise that option, the apps remain on my phone. It's just like many other storage management apps like CCleaner.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Isn't this what Antivirus / Anti malware software does?

    @Packet

    "How can one user app delete another app?"

    Also, what's wrong with a user knowingly installing a piece of software to remove apps that they explicitly ask it to remove? Isn't that the whole point of freedom of choice?

    1. Packet

      Re: Isn't this what Antivirus / Anti malware software does?

      What is the safeguard to prevent this auto running and deleting things you don't want to be deleted?

      The design seems flawed

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Isn't this what Antivirus / Anti malware software does?

        The same applies to all those systems and registry cleaners for Windows. I'm failing to see the difference. You run it and it either just goes off and deletes stuff or it might give some general idea of what it's about to do and ask to OK it's actions, or may have an "advanced" mode where it's list loads of stuff for you to select.

      2. DavCrav Silver badge

        Re: Isn't this what Antivirus / Anti malware software does?

        This article by Raymond Chen on why you cannot have a super-duper must-always-be-on-top window is slightly appropriate here.

        1. cornetman Silver badge

          Re: Isn't this what Antivirus / Anti malware software does?

          I read his article, but I don't really understand his point, unless he was talking exclusively about applications that wish to be "top dog" as it were, in which case I can see what he means. I guess the system modal dialog is probably the closest that can be achieved by preventing other windows from doing anything substantial.

          As a matter of choice, my MATE desktop manager allow me to specify which windows are "Always on top". At first it appears contradictory to have more than one, but what I think really happens is that it creates a tier of priority windows that behave between themselves in the same way that other windows normally do. It's pretty handy at times although I am left feeling that some kind of improved window paradigm would be a better solution.

          1. DavCrav Silver badge

            Re: Isn't this what Antivirus / Anti malware software does?

            "I read his article, but I don't really understand his point, unless he was talking exclusively about applications that wish to be "top dog" as it were, in which case I can see what he means."

            You cannot have an option that says 'always do this thing, and ignore what other applications say'. Or anything from a whole class of objects of that form. One of them would be why can you not have an application that always has highest priority among applications to decide which can delete others.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    There's a similar one in China for Indian apps, but it didnt find any.

    1. pradeepvasudev

      It wouldn't have found any for American or European apps either. After all, China pretty much makes sure that home-grown is the only choice, right?

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