Google Removes Iran’s Coronavirus App from Its Play Store: Report
- March, 11, 2020 - 10:32
- Society/Culture news
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – As part of measures to stem the spread of coronavirus in the country, the Iranian government released an Android app named AC19 intended to help people self-diagnose rather than going to a hospital, but that app was booted from Google's Play Store recently, a report said.
The app "tries to reach a clinical decision by asking a few medical questions," its description says.
According to a report carried by ZDNet, Google pulled it from its app store this week over claims "that it could detect COVID-19 infections, something that is impossible through an app."
The app, which is still available through the web, initially faced concerns that it was as a means of “spying on people”. But a malware researcher ZDNet worked with, Lukas Stefanko, examined the app and found nothing to indicate it was spying on people.
"The app is not a malicious Trojan or spyware," he said. Though it asks for permissions, he said those permissions are nothing beyond what you would grant any other health-based app.
The answer for the move by Google appears to be more simple than that: Iranian developer accounts aren't allowed on Google Play, according to public terms of service statements from Google.