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      Google Play keeps banning the same web browser due to vague DMCA notices

      news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Monday, 27 November - 23:10

    Screenshot of the Google home page displayed on Downloader, an Android app with a built-in browser.

    Enlarge / The Downloader app that was suspended from Google Play. (credit: Elias Saba )

    App developer Elias Saba has had some bad luck with Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) takedowns. His Android TV app Downloader, which combines a web browser with a file manager, was suspended by Google Play in May after several Israeli TV companies complained that the app could be used to load a pirate website.

    Google reversed that suspension after three weeks. But Downloader has been suspended by Google Play again, and this time the reason is even harder to understand. Based on a vague DMCA notice, it appears that Downloader was suspended simply because it can load the Warner Bros. website .

    Downloader is similar to standard web browsers in that it lets users access both legal and illegally shared content. The app can be used for general web surfing and can download files from a website when a user inputs the desired URL. According to Saba, the app itself contains no infringing content, nor does it direct users to infringing content.

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      Pourquoi des smartphones Huawei, Honor et Vivo recommandent de désinstaller Google

      news.movim.eu / Numerama · Tuesday, 31 October - 09:38

    De nombreux utilisateurs ont reçu des alertes de sécurité sur les smartphones Huawei, Honor et Vivo, leur recommandant de désinstaller Google. L'hypothèse d'un faux positif est pour l'instant la plus probable. [Lire la suite]

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      Android will now scan sideloaded apps for malware at install time

      news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Wednesday, 18 October - 18:32 · 1 minute

    Google's new malware scanner for sideloaded apps.

    Enlarge / Google's new malware scanner for sideloaded apps. (credit: Google)

    The Google Play Store might not be perfect for stopping Android malware, but its collection of scanning, app reviews, and developer requirements makes it a lot safer than the wider, unfiltered Internet. The world outside Google's walled garden has no rules at all and offers a countless number of questionable apps available for sideloading. To help combat the surge of sideloaded malware, Google Play can now pop up a malware scanner at install time if it decides the app you're trying to sideload is interesting.

    Google Play's malware system, called "Google Play Protect," has always been able to check sideloaded apps for malware, but it used faster techniques like a definition file, and this happened quietly in the background. This new technique will delay your app installation with a full-screen "scanning" interface while Google runs a deep scan of the app code. Google's blog post says this is "real-time scanning at the code-level to combat novel malicious apps" and that Google Play Protect can "recommend a real-time app scan when installing apps that have never been scanned before to help detect emerging threats."

    The scan will involve sending bits and pieces of the app to Google for analysis. Google says:

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      Et maintenant, l’interdiction de certains VPN en France sur smartphone ?

      news.movim.eu / Numerama · Monday, 2 October, 2023 - 15:43


    Certains VPN pourraient être exclus de l'App Store et de Google Play en France. Un amendement souhaite conditionner leur visibilité sur les boutiques d'applications pour smartphone au bon respect de la loi. [Lire la suite]

    Abonnez-vous aux newsletters Numerama pour recevoir l’essentiel de l’actualité https://www.numerama.com/newsletter/

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      LaLiga “Talks to Google” About Deleting Piracy Apps From a Million Phones

      news.movim.eu / TorrentFreak · Sunday, 24 September, 2023 - 18:20 · 3 minutes

    destroy An event organized by Spanish football league LaLiga took place at the Museum of Arts and Sciences of Valencia yesterday.

    LaLiga were joined at “Fight Against Piracy in Sporting Events” by Víctor Francos Díaz , Spain’s recently appointed Secretary of State for Sports and president of the Higher Sports Council (CSD), and MEP Iban García del Blanco .

    Citing data recently published by the European Intellectual Property Office, which found that piracy in the EU grew by 3.3 % in 2022, the CSD president said piracy remains a problem for sports groups like LaLiga and for governments around Europe. That report didn’t actually contain any data on the IPTV-based piracy plaguing LaLiga, but there’s no doubt that the league has its hands full.

    Scale of the Problem

    LaLiga’s efforts to contain IPTV piracy services began eight years ago and according to local media , La Liga’s anti-piracy department now detects over 46,000 IP addresses around the world broadcasting pirated live sports.

    LaLiga chief Javier Tebas reported that during the first five days of the new Spanish football season, it had “eliminated” 58 Android-based piracy apps believed to have been downloaded by four million users worldwide. Tebas said that 800,000 of those users are in Spain where they use the app to watch pirated football streams.

    The figures relating to Apple devices are smaller, around a million users worldwide, 300,000 of them in Spain. Overall that’s roughly 1.1 million users of these pirate apps in Spain, a considerable number but only part of the overall picture.

    Terminology and Definitions Are Important

    What LaLiga means by “eliminated” isn’t clear and that in itself muddies the waters when trying to build a picture on achievements and failures. On one hand, the complete destruction of 58 apps and their infrastructure would be a monumental achievement but if 58 apps were only removed from app stores or blocked by ISPs, any gains might already have been wiped out as pirates adjust.

    The tell-tale signs that “eliminated” means something other than total destruction were evident as Tebas outlined another problem facing LaLiga. While it may well have restricted the availability of dozens of apps, LaLiga is in no position to do anything about the copies that have already been downloaded and installed on users’ phones.

    Tebas describes this as another problem LaLiga faced, which probably speaks volumes about the status of the “eliminated” apps. If we assume that non-functional “eliminated” piracy apps are useless and therefore of little concern to LaLiga, only functional apps are problematic. If the already downloaded apps can still rely on functional internet infrastructure, getting rebranded apps back into the marketplace won’t be a problem for pirates.

    That being said, Tebas believes that eliminating downloaded apps has value, and it appears that work towards that is already underway.

    LaLiga is “Talking to Google”

    “That is another of our fights: that those who have them downloaded on their mobile phones already have them and now we have to work to eliminate them,” Tebas said, as quoted by local media.

    “We are talking to Google and other platforms so that they can be located on those mobile phones. If it can be done and it is done, for example, for crimes such as child pornography, for intellectual property, which is stealing, they should have to do it too.”

    It’s been quite some time since the protection of intellectual property and the protection of children have been mentioned in the same sentence, and longer still since anyone has advocated for equivalent countermeasures.

    That could mean that the protection of intellectual property is getting ahead of itself but without similarly huge financial lobbying power, it’s more likely to reflect child protection falling behind.

    From: TF , for the latest news on copyright battles, piracy and more.

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      Google removes fake Signal and Telegram apps hosted on Play

      news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Wednesday, 30 August, 2023 - 22:09 · 1 minute

    Google removes fake Signal and Telegram apps hosted on Play

    Enlarge (credit: Mateusz Slodkowski/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

    Researchers on Wednesday said they found fake apps in Google Play that masqueraded as legitimate ones for the Signal and Telegram messaging platforms. The malicious apps could pull messages or other sensitive information from legitimate accounts when users took certain actions.

    An app with the name Signal Plus Messenger was available on Play for nine months and had been downloaded from Play roughly 100 times before Google took it down last April after being tipped off by security firm ESET. It was also available in the Samsung app store and on signalplus[.]org, a dedicated website mimicking the official Signal.org. An app calling itself FlyGram, meanwhile, was created by the same threat actor and was available through the same three channels. Google removed it from Play in 2021. Both apps remain available in the Samsung store.

    Both apps were built on open source code available from Signal and Telegram. Interwoven into that code was an espionage tool tracked as BadBazaar. The Trojan has been linked to a China-aligned hacking group tracked as GREF. BadBazaar has been used previously to target Uyghurs and other Turkic ethnic minorities. The FlyGram malware was also shared in a Uyghur Telegram group, further aligning it to previous targeting by the BadBazaar malware family.

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      Google escapes Play Store class action after finding more persuasive expert

      news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Tuesday, 29 August, 2023 - 19:46

    Google escapes Play Store class action after finding more persuasive expert

    Enlarge (credit: SOPA Images / Contributor | LightRocket )

    A US district judge has reversed course, revoking a 2022 class action status order for 21 million Google Play Store customers who alleged that Google “artificially inflated” prices for Android apps that could have been downloaded cheaper outside the Play Store.

    Yesterday, Judge James Donato ordered the class action cancelled after he said that new evidence showed that key expert testimony that plaintiffs relied on to claim that prices were inflated was "based on assumptions about the Play Store apps that are not supported by the evidence.”

    Because the expert testimony—which came from antitrust expert Hal J. Singer—failed a reliability test, it must be excluded, Donato said. Now it seems likely that plaintiffs may have to "dramatically reduce potential damages" in the case, which Singer had previously estimated could amount to billions, Bloomberg reported .

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      Manga Piracy Apps Stay Up on Google & Apple, Publisher Moves to Unmask Devs

      news.movim.eu / TorrentFreak · Thursday, 17 August, 2023 - 10:38 · 2 minutes

    manga Japanese manga comics remain massively popular online but with that comes high levels of piracy that publishers are struggling to contain.

    On top of dedicated websites pulling in tens of millions of visits each every month, there’s a thriving market of Android and iOS apps offering premium manga content for free but without appropriate licenses.

    Many of these apps, especially those Android-based, are made available outside official app ecosystems, but some still make their way onto Google Play and Apple’s App Store, with all the convenience that entails. To have the apps removed, publishers file takedown notices with Google and Apple but as recent court documents suggest, takedown notices aren’t always successful.

    Kadokawa Sent Takedown Notices, Apps Stay Up

    On June 16, 2023, manga publisher Kadokawa sent two takedown notices, one to Google and another to Apple. In broad terms the notices are identical, the only differences being the recipient and links to the content to be taken down.

    Kadokawa takedown notice (Apple) kadokawa-apple takedown

    The notice sent to Google lists works by manga artist Kugane Maruyama and requests the removal of two apps; one titled ‘SuA Manga Đọc truyện tranh’ and another titled ‘Mangalek’.

    The takedown notice sent to Apple lists three works by two manga artists – Shachi Sogano and Patora Fuyuhara – and requests the removal of three apps: ‘Manga Reader: Comic & Webtoons’, ‘Manga Reader: Top Manga Here’, and ‘Manga Reader – Comics and Novels’.

    Whether these takedown requests are more complex than they first appear is unknown, but it seems that neither Google nor Apple removed the apps in question. At the time of writing they remain available both on Google Play ( 1 , 2 ) and Apple’s App Store ( 1 , 2 , 3 ).

    Kadokawa Files DMCA Application at California Court

    It’s possible that Kadokawa always intended to take further action, whether its takedown notices were effective or not. In any event, the manga publisher has now filed requests with a California court to compel both Apple and Google to hand over the identities of the apps’ developers.

    The information requested from both companies is broadly the same and comprehensive. (Apple request shown below)

    – Any and all information showing all names, addresses (including postal codes and addresses used for address (PIN) verification, e-mail addresses (including email addresses used for recovery or other purposes), and telephone numbers (including, but not limited to, those required for Apple account registration);

    – Any and all information showing access log (including dates, times, IP addresses, and access type) of each of the Infringer’s Accounts, including access log along with timestamp for each login (namely, login history);

    – Any and all information showing (a) all names, telephone numbers, and addresses (including postal codes), any payment method, including but not limited to credit card holders, bank accounts, registered with; and (b) the type of the payment method and the name of the company or financial institution associated with such payment method registered with any and all of the Infringer’s Accounts.

    Publicly available information suggests that some of these apps and/or their developers may have links to full-blown pirate sites, so any information obtained here may prove useful in progressing investigations elsewhere.

    Kadokawa’s DMCA subpoena application can be found here (Google 1 , 2 / Apple 1 , 2 , 3 , pdf)

    From: TF , for the latest news on copyright battles, piracy and more.

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      Android 4.4 KitKat is truly dead, loses Play Services support

      news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Tuesday, 25 July, 2023 - 16:46 · 1 minute

    Android 4.4 KitKat is truly dead, loses Play Services support

    (credit: Google)

    The Android ecosystem rightfully gets a lot of slack for being unable to deliver operating system updates to everyone in a timely manner, but there's more to Android updates than just OS support. App updates can keep a phone chugging along even after the updates have stopped, and Google's do-it-all super app, Google Play Services, contains a ton of app APIs and features and enables the really important stuff like Play Store transactions and advertisements.

    Google just announced Play Services is dropping support for an old version of Android, and while OS development might stop at just three or four years, Play Services goes back way longer than that. Google announced Play Services is dropping support for Android 4.4 KitKat, which is now 10 years old. Support isn't really being artificially cut off, either. Google says KitKat's active device count is "below 1 percent," so there's not much reason to support it anymore.

    These devices will stop getting Play Services updates after July, and then it's anyone's guess as to how much longer they will work. At some point, Google will change something, and your device will become a brick. Old, unsupported Android devices can't log in to a Google account, which is a prerequisite for opening half of the apps that come with your phone. You'll be locked out of the Play Store, Gmail, Google Maps, and other Google products, with no way to see these old versions again. Luckily, someone saw all this coming and took screenshots of every old version.

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