Android developers behind malicious apps have been warned over their use of hidden charges by the UK’s premium-rate telephone regulator with fines already having been imposed on two mobile payment providers. The penalties follow a series of complaints against “freemium” apps leading to yesterday’s launch of a consultation on the matter by PhonepayPlus.
Earlier this year, mobile payments company mBlox was fined £135,000 after one of its free battery monitoring apps was found to send text messages to premium-rate services without permission from users. mBlox passed the fine onto SJA Mobile, the client who created the offending app, with its CEO, Andrew Dark stating, “At no stage was mBlox accused of having any knowledge or role in creating this harmful application.”
Another developer was fined £30,00 for creating a smartphone app which sent paid-for messages which couldn’t be shut off.
Speaking on the growing proliferation of rogue apps PhonepayPlus commented, “The problems have mainly been on Android and the other open-source platforms. We have had discussions with Google and they are just as concerned as us about these developments – much of this activity breaches their terms and conditions too.”
Google declined to comment on the consultation but noted its developer guidelines prohibit the occurrence of “malicious products” and “illegal activities”.
Have you been a victim of premium-rate Android app charges? Are you encouraged by the launch of PhonepayPlus’ consultation or do you think it’s impossible to regulate the appsphere? Let Life of Android knwo in the comments section below.