Google’s legal team has just recently sent out a bunch of e-mails to their registered developers regarding a subpeona issued by the FBI. Supposedly this has something to do with an investigation regarding applications that are showing up in various places where developers have not provided any sort of consent., which leads the FBI to think something “phishy” is up. You can read the full e-mail sent from Google below:
Google has received a subpoena seeking information related to Android applications that may have been made available on alternative markets without the consent of the developer. The subpoena seeks information about those Android applications, including contact information for the developers of the applications. Our records show that your Android developer account will be included in the information Google will provide in response to this subpoena.
Google is not in a position to provide you with legal advice or discuss the substance of the process in our possession. For more information about the subpoena, you may wish to contact the Federal Bureau of Investigation — Atlanta Field Office at (404) 679-9000, reference #2011R00320/FBI/ORKIN.
Google Legal Investigations Support
Apparently there was a representative at the Atlanta Field Office that had said Google jumped the gun on sending out this e-mail to developers, and that the developers would only be contacted if they happened to be a victim of app piracy. The specifics of this investigation haven’t been made available as of yet, but some have said that this whole ordeal is more likely to deal with the Aliyun/Acer craziness. That would make sense, but Google jumping the gun and sending out these e-mails was probably the best thing to do. Keeping their users notified of what is going on was probably a really good idea to refrain from having any potential angry e-mails. Surely they get them on a daily basis, but I think you know what I mean.
The reality is, The FBI’s e-mails are going to freak some of the developers out, so Google sending out e-mails talking about the FBI contacting developers was really a good choice. There are many companies who do not keep their community updated on happenings regarding compromised user data, and thankfully Google was one of the companies that was willing to step up to the plate. Aside from that, there are a lot of developers out there concerning about piracy of their applications. We can take Dead Trigger for an example. The game was originally something you had to pay for, but it then went free to play with micro-transactions so that piracy could be avoided any further. I can imagine that a lot of developers have the same mindset as the Dead Trigger guys, as losing money isn’t entirely a fun thing.
Do you think that a lot of developers are concerned about piracy though? Do you think that they are concerned about their apps showing up on the Aliyun app marketplace with their consent? I personally would be, because it is essentially someone else taking my app and then claiming it as their own. Not only that, but those people that stole “my app” are also making money off of it without my consent. Hopefully the FBI is able to figure this all out soon and put an end to the madness. If they don’t, who knows what Google will do when they get their hands on the pirates.
Let us know your thoughts about this investigation in the comments below!
source: android central