Brazilian judge orders Google to wipe Secret app from user’s smartphones

August 20, 2014

Secret, a nearly anonymous social network which launched on Android earlier in the year, has already been outlawed in Brazil. Judge Paulo Cesar de Carvalho has upheld a civil action, ruling that Apple and Google must remove the application from their stores in Brazil. Not only that, but the companies have also been ordered to remove the app from every device in the country.

That last request sounds rather farfetched but it is actually within Google’s capabilities, just about. Android supports a security measure to remotely remove apps from devices without the user’s permission. Back in 2010 Google used this system to remove a bunch of malicious software that made it on to the Play Store and some user’s devices. Google then pushed a notification explaining the situation. However, this ruling would be on a much larger scale, and might not go as smoothly as Google’s other software removal efforts.

The reason for the judgement stems from some of the more sordid aspects of social networking. The judge is apparently fed up with the anonymous bullying and harassment that talks place on anonymous networks like Secret, and has decided to put a stop to it. He seems particularly concerned that offensive and aggressive messages can’t easily be tracked by law enforcers.  In the original hearing, the Minister of Rosa Weber Supreme Federal Court suspended of the decision over concerns that the ruling would effectively apply censorship to citizens.

The judge has issued a deadline of just 10 days to remove the app from stores and delete it from smartphones across the country. If Google, or the other companies, refuse to comply, they face a daily fine of $20,000 ($8,888 USD), although they will be allowed to appeal the ruling.

Comments

  • abazigal

    If Steve Jobs was still around, he would have likely given Brazil a giant middle finger, and found a way to work around it, or just defy the ruling and get away through sheer charisma. The Apple of today strikes me as being more permissive and more willing to cave in and pander to rulings, and as such, I am not so sure.

    Won’t it be be awesome if Google and Apple could band together to collectively fight this ruling?

    • MasterMuffin

      He’d sue Brazil

      • abazigal

        Apple going thermonuclear on Brazil?

        What wouldn’t I give to be a fly on that wall should it ever come to that…:D

        • derp hurr-durr

          Especially after what happened when they went thermonuclear on Google!

          Oh…wait… /s

  • JayMars84

    This is dumber than the selfie perfume camera I just read about in the other article.

    • Krazonite

      It’s early yet. Give it time. We’ve only yet scratched the surface of today’s reeking pile of mind-boggling stupidity.

  • Pablo Bicca Flores

    Our Constitution forbids the anonymity. We are free to speech, as long as we identify ourselves. Also, we have a law to protect the consumers that says that every service provided to the public must have a clear and vernacular description.

    • Haseeb

      Man, I love Brazil!

  • MasterMuffin

    Has the app dev done anything wrong? Why is he punished for stuff that other people do on his social network?

    “that talks place” takes? :)

    • JayMars84

      Apparently, the American custom of fighting ridiculous battles in court instead of holding people accountable for their actions is spreading.

      • MasterMuffin

        I think the most ridiculous part is that they can force Apple and Google to pay them!

        • PhoenixPath

          They can’t.

          …and while Brazil can tell Apple and Google they can no longer operate or sell with the borders of Brazil; I do honestly believe that it would backfire more on Brazil than it would on El Goog or the Apes.

  • Guest

    I installed the app just to see how Google will delete it from my device.

    • Umer

      Whats the name of app

    • http://www.rebelwithoutaclue.com/ Rebel without a Clue

      Apart from the fact this is only for inhabitants of Brazil (the rest may use it), Google has no problem uninstalling apps installed from the playstore. It has done so before and also it automatically uninstalls the app when clicking refund. It won’t uninstall the app when sideloaded though.

  • TDioWS

    On a side note, the app’s content in Brazil is really messed up. Most secrets are about sucking D’s or dumb thoughts.

  • http://goo.gl/5KL2BI Out of the Park Apps

    Next we’ll ban anonymous notes on paper.

  • lubd

    Fascist!!!

  • Williams

    The ruling isn’t official. In the 9to5Mac and Android Headlines articles, it’s stated that the judge has yet to make any formal ruling.