Menu
Disconnect files EU antitrust complaint against Google after app ban

Disconnect files EU antitrust complaint against Google after app ban

Google called the complaint baseless and said Disconnect's app simply violates its app store rules

Disconnect's app allows Android users to block privacy and security invasive ads

Disconnect's app allows Android users to block privacy and security invasive ads

Disconnect.me, maker of an Android privacy app banned from the Play store, has filed an antitrust complaint with the European Commssion accusing Google of abusing its dominant market position.

The complaint could add fuel to an ongoing European Union antitrust investigation of Google's business practices.

Google banned the Disconnect Mobile app last year, saying it violated its developer distribution agreement.

Disconnect Mobile routes traffic through an encrypted Virtual Private Network (VPN) tunnel, which makes it harder to track users. By installing a special network profile, the app also blocks ads, tracking services and suspected malware sites, both inside apps and in Android's browser.

This however violates Google's developer rules that state that apps should not interfere with or disrupt other apps, Google told the company when it banned the app.

Disconnect found Google's reasoning "vague and overly broad," and thought Google felt the app threatened its tracking- and advertising-based business model.

As a result, Disconnect charged Google with abusing its dominant market position by banning the app. A European Commission spokesman said the Commission had received the complaint and will assess it.

The app maker alleges that Google unfairly discriminates by favoring its own privacy and security software, limiting access to competing software, the Wall Street Journal reported, adding that this prevents Europeans from using other privacy software.

"This reported claim is baseless," Google said, adding that its Google Play policies have long prohibited apps that interfere with other apps. App makers are not allowed to let their apps alter the functionality of others or remove their way of making money, Google said, adding that these policies are uniformly applied and with them there are currently over 200 privacy apps available in Google Play.

The developer's complaint against Google could add to the Commission's probe into the Android operating system it launched in April. That investigation is still ongoing, and should determine whether Google violated EU antitrust rules by bundling its own apps with Android, the Commission said.

Android users running Android 4.0 and higher can still install the banned app by downloading it directly from Disconnect's website. The company also offers similar apps for iOS, Mac and Windows.

Loek is Amsterdam Correspondent and covers online privacy, intellectual property, online payment issues as well as EU technology policy and regulation for the IDG News Service. Follow him on Twitter at @loekessers or email tips and comments to loek_essers@idg.com

Follow Us

Join the New Zealand Reseller News newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags mobile applicationsantitrustGooglelegalmobiledisconnect

Featured

Slideshows

Arrow exclusively introduces Tenable Network Security to A/NZ channel

Arrow exclusively introduces Tenable Network Security to A/NZ channel

Arrow Electronics introduced Tenable Network Security to local resellers in Sydney last week, officially launching the distributor's latest security partnership across Australia and New Zealand. Representing the first direct distribution agreement locally for Tenable specifically, the deal sees Arrow deliver security solutions directly to mid-market and enterprise channel partners on both sides of the Tasman.

Arrow exclusively introduces Tenable Network Security to A/NZ channel
Examining the changing job scene in the Kiwi channel

Examining the changing job scene in the Kiwi channel

Typically, the New Year brings new opportunities for personnel within the Kiwi channel. 2017 started no differently, with a host of appointments, departures and reshuffles across vendor, distributor and reseller businesses. As a result, the job scene across New Zealand has changed - here’s a run down of who is working where in the year ahead…

Examining the changing job scene in the Kiwi channel
​What are the top 10 tech trends for New Zealand in 2017?

​What are the top 10 tech trends for New Zealand in 2017?

Digital Transformation (DX) has been a critical topic for business over the last few years and IDC is now predicting a step change as DX reaches macroeconomic levels. By 2020 a DX economy will emerge and it will become the core of what New Zealand industries focus on. From the board level through to the C-Suite, Kiwi organisations must be prepared to think and act digital when the DX economy emerges in 2017.

​What are the top 10 tech trends for New Zealand in 2017?
Show Comments