Android Central

Google's legal team has recently blasted out e-mails to registered developers regarding a subpeona issued by the FBI. Apparently this has something to do with an investigation regarding apps showing up in places where developers haven't provided consent. Here's the full e-mail from Google. 


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 a representative at the Atlanta Field Office said Google jumped the gun on shooting out this e-mail, and that developers will only be contacted if they're the victim of app piracy. It's entirely likely that this whole thing has more to do with the Aliyun/Acer mess, though the specifics of the investigation haven't been made available. 

I suppose it's good that Google's giving developers a heads-up that the FBI might be contacting them, but I can't help but think that this e-mail is just going to freak most of them out. Any developers here seriously concerned about their apps showing up in the Aliyun app marketplace without their consent? What about app piracy in general?

Via Android-Discuss group


Reader comments

FBI investigating secondary Android apps stores, Google warns developers


The FBI budget should be immediately cut. They obviously have too much idle time on their hands.

No, it is not a free world. This is an action by a law enforcement agency in a sovereign country to protect citizens, businesses, etc. from abuse and violation of rights, as guaranteed by laws enacted by elected representatives. To put it more simply, it is their job....

Its just too bad nothing can be done about china pirating, copyright infringement, patent infringements, they steal everything copy it completely and then resell it with a name slightly askew from the original deloveper, from tablets and computers to music, software and movies. Why is china allowed to steal everything and never gets punished from the international community? Just another reason I hate china.

How so? because the investigative arm of federal law enforcement is investigating piracy in a market that is expected to generate almost $40 Billion in revenue this year. they aren't chasing down casual copiers or small .apk websites but paid app stores that are selling stolen/bootlegged content and some are making millions doing it and operating right out in the open and even making inroads in trying to partner with legitimate businesses as is evident by this whole Aliyun deal. Who else is supposed to keep these things in check?

Other companies like Apple, Samsung and Developers to keep these guys in check in my opinion.

Yes, because corporations have proved so good at keeping things in check over the years. Oh wait, we still have near double digit unemployment because of a crash a few years ago caused by excess and abuse unchecked by oversight.

So the fact that they are doing their job as empowered by laws enacted by duly elected representatives of the people means their budget should be cut? By that logic, fire departments should be eliminated because they put out fires and police departments should be cut because they fight crime. Assuming you actually work for a living, you should also be terminated if you show up and do the job you were paid to do....

Well, someone is in contact with them about the issue. The FBI is just doing their job. They wouldn't care or have any idea anything was going on otherwise. If it hurts piracy then this is a very good thing.

However, if Google is doing this because of gapps used by the developer community or something then I think it stinks.

I got one yesterday, thought it was fake, but thanks for confirming that it is indeed real. I know some of my apps are on alt markets but just gave up hope trying to get them taken down.

I have a better idea, why doesn't the FBI go after those rings of pedophiles who's members use trading cards to share information about the children they victimize.

You do know that the FBI actually has multiple departments and more than one actually deals with stuff like that?

It's always funny to me when people suggest that a given agency or company divert 100% resources to solving a given problem or product. Like janitors that work at the FBI need to drop what they're doing to help address pedophilia and app market piracy.

I didn't get the email yet.

Google should really add an option to the Play Store that allows users to download a paid app for a "free trial" before downloading it. I think this in and of itself would increase revenue for developers and get rid of the need to have free AND paid versions for everything. Some things it is good for to have a paid and a free version, like a game, but on smaller applications, it makes no sense because you can't strip out functionality on a simple app without crippling it, or conversely, making the free version so functional that people do not have any need to download the paid version.

Yeah, I'm sure Google has never thought of that. How revolutionary. :-O
But in all seriousness, this does already exist in some form. But developers have been doing this at their own discretion, because Google can't make everyone offer free trials. Especially in cases where an app's content is only needed/desirable for a one-time use.
Give them some credit man. I'm sure there are a variety of reasons that this isn't offered. These are mobile applications anyway. The majority of apps are well under ten dollars, and until the average app even costs near that number, the current system has no reason to radically change--in my opinion of course.
There's very little risk in buying most mobile apps, and sometimes people need to just accept that they're not able to use a developers hard-work(in most cases, oil) for hours, and then get their 99¢ refunded every time they don't like something.
I do agree that there could be a better system in place though-it's just a matter of figuring out what that is.