Google Removes Iran’s Coronavirus App from Its Play Store: Report

Google Removes Iran’s Coronavirus App from Its Play Store: Report

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – As part of measures to stem the spread of coronavirus in the country, the Iranian government released an Android app named AC19 intended to help people self-diagnose rather than going to a hospital, but that app was booted from Google's Play Store recently, a report said.

The app "tries to reach a clinical decision by asking a few medical questions," its description says.

According to a report carried by ZDNet, Google pulled it from its app store this week over claims "that it could detect COVID-19 infections, something that is impossible through an app."

The app, which is still available through the web, initially faced concerns that it was as a means of “spying on people”. But a malware researcher ZDNet worked with, Lukas Stefanko, examined the app and found nothing to indicate it was spying on people.

"The app is not a malicious Trojan or spyware," he said. Though it asks for permissions, he said those permissions are nothing beyond what you would grant any other health-based app.

The answer for the move by Google appears to be more simple than that: Iranian developer accounts aren't allowed on Google Play, according to public terms of service statements from Google.

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