I’ve Been Completely BANNED From the Android Market

In case you were wondering where all of my applications went, Google decided to suspend my entire account and all applications on it on December 29th, 2010 at 8:46 PM (UTC). This is very disappointing, frustrating, and depressing, especially since I am no longer allowed to upload any new Android applications. I believe that Google went too far and should have only suspended the infringing applications instead of banning my entire account, since I had many legitimate, non-infringing applications on it, such as EliteGuard, Currency Converter, Simple Dice, Find the Mouse, and InfiniteSMS (I don’t believe simply removing the SMS sending limit qualifies as infringement). Here is the message I have received from the Android Market Support Team:

Hello Dylan,

After a regular account review, your Android Market Publisher account has
been suspended due to multiple violations of our Terms of Service. You may
view these terms here:

http://www.android.com/us/developer-distribution-agreement.html (Section
4.4).
http://www.android.com/market/terms/developer-content-policy.html

Please note that Android Market Publisher suspensions are associated with
developers, and may span multiple accounts.

We are not inclined to reverse this decision.

Regards,
The Android Market Team

An hour after receiving this message from Google, I decided to try to appeal the ban, with an apology letter directed toward the Android Market team. As of January 3rd, 2011, I have not received any reply from them at all. A copy of my response to them is below:

Dear Android Market Support,

In addition to the applications that infringe upon your terms of service, I had many ‘legitimate’ applications listed that cause no harm to any devices or networks, or infringe on your terms of service in any way. I would like to appeal your decision to suspend my account, and I would like to request a specific list of infringing applications and how they infringe upon your terms of service so that I can remove those particular applications from the market if I am given another chance to distribute my applications on the Android market. Although you say that I have multiple violations of your terms of service, the only application I wrote that I am aware may potentially infringe on your terms of service is “EliteBomb”, my text-bombing application, of which I had multiple versions listed. When I uploaded this application, I was not aware that it was against your terms of service, and I would like to apologize for any misunderstandings. I realize that you don’t have to unsuspend my developer account, but given another chance, I would like to keep my applications that do not infringe on your terms of service listed, and upload more applications in the future. I have no intention of abusing the privilege of uploading Android applications. I will not upload another text bombing application, given the chance, without your prior consent.


Dylan Taylor
http://www.dylanmtaylor.com/

Unfortunately at this point, it doesn’t look like I will be able to get my Android market developer account back, and this is really frustrating and depressing. I truly would like to continue to develop and support my applications for Android, but it does not look like Google will allow me the privilege of doing so, so I shall begin to look into alternative means of distribution. This is a truly disappointing and sorrowful moment for me. :-(

An Explanation of My Recent "Self Destruct" Application

Self Destruct” is simply an application I made for fun, as a proof of concept. This application demonstrates a way to create an application that is able to “destroy” itself, preventing it from running until it is uninstalled, and then reinstalled later. I’d like to personally thank HandlerExploit for giving me a hint about how to do this (he mentioned that he found the trick in the provisioning code). HandlerExploit uses a similar technique in his application, “iBrick Proof of Concept”. As soon as the user opens the application, it removes it’s main class from the Dalvik package manager, preventing itself from being able to run again. The only way to run the application again after opening it is to uninstall the application, and reinstall it. This application serves no real purpose other than to demonstrate an interesting trick, and it is not malicious in any way. Please note that after running the application, it’s icon will remain in the launcher, although you won’t be able to open it. Uninstalling the application will remove the icon. I’d release the entire source code for this application, but really, the only part that actually matters is the part that removes the class from Dalvik and prevents the application from running again. Interestingly, this application requires absolutely no permissions, at all in order to do this. In case you are interested in how I did this, here is the source code for the main class in the project:

package com.dylantaylor.selfdestruct;
import android.app.Activity;
import android.content.ComponentName;
import android.content.pm.PackageManager;
import android.os.Bundle;

public class Main extends Activity {
    /** Called when the activity is first created. */
    @Override
    public void onCreate(Bundle savedInstanceState) {
        super.onCreate(savedInstanceState);
        setContentView(R.layout.main);
        PackageManager pm = getPackageManager(); ComponentName name = new ComponentName(this, Main.class);
        pm.setComponentEnabledSetting(name, PackageManager.COMPONENT_ENABLED_STATE_DISABLED, 0);
    }
}

Yes, I realize that this application serves no real purpose, but it’s just something interesting that I made for fun. If you don’t want it, don’t download it. Otherwise, have fun! :)

P.S. Do whatever you want with that source code, it’s virtually worthless to me anyways.