Ready to Start Your Career?
By: ryan c
November 25, 2015
Google Play – Against Cybersecurity Education and for Censorship? You Decide
By: ryan c
November 25, 2015
What we are about to present are facts regarding why the Google Play Support team decided to remove our app from their app marketplace, and how this position by Google Play reflects a negative stance against the free flow of cyber security education, and an enactment of censorship of what should be available knowledge to the cyber security community. If you believe knowledge should be free and open, then feel free to make your voice heard in a professional manner. See the conversation on TwitterYesterday, the Google Play Support Team removed the Cybrary App from the Google Play store. Cybrary’s app was designed to make cyber security education available to people who do not have a reliable internet connection. In other words, Cybrary makes its free cyber security education classes available for download on the app, so that people may consume those classes and learn, even when they do not have a stable internet connection. The classes included in the Cybrary app included all of the classes found in our course catalog. This app was designed to help people such as those in developing nations, military Veterans and others who cannot afford high priced training to enter or advance in a career in cyber security.Cybrary’s App Submission, Approval and then RemovalOn October 17, 2015, we submitted our app, which included all of our free cyber security classes, and shortly after submission, Google Play approved the app. Since that time, until yesterday, almost 50,000 people worldwide have downloaded the app and have been using it to learn cyber security for free, on the go. Google play reached out to us, on 11/18, after we submitted an app update. In reaching out they stated that our app was in violation of section 4.4 of the Developer Distribution Agreement (DDA). Yesterday (11/24), they removed the app from the Google Play store. In that time, we had reached out to try and figure out exactly what the problem was, and we made repeated attempts to have dialog with someone who was making this decision. They refused to converse with us on the matter with each attempt, and simply responded each time that the app was in violation of section 4.4 of the Developer Distribution Agreement (DDA). In all fairness to the Google Play Support team, the interactions, although not providing any guidance or information on the issue, was very cordial and polite during the communications. Despite not engaging in dialog which would help pinpoint the actual problem, they removed the app from the Google Play Marketplace.Now let’s explore the facts on Google Play’s position as potentially being against the advancement of cyber security education, and their act of censorship on this educational content.What is Section 4.4 of the DDA?The following is the policy that Google Play cited our app in being violation of:
- The Developer Distribution Agreement states: You agree that you will not engage in any activity with the Store, including the development or distribution of Products, that interferes with, disrupts, damages, or accesses in an unauthorized manner the devices, servers, networks, or other properties or services of any third party including, but not limited to, Android users, Google or any mobile network operator. You may not use customer information obtained from the Store to sell or distribute Products outside of the Store.
- Your app and/or elements of its listing on Google Play, including title, description, and promotional screenshots provides/links to specific instructions used to circumvent software/hardware mechanics.