Developers of privacy-enhanced mobile BTC wallet Samourai announced on Monday that they have been forced to disable a number of security features due to the Google Play Store’s new policies. They wrote:
Samourai detailed that they applied for an exemption to the new rules. The self-proclaimed privacy activists explained to Google that “removing such functionality would cause users who rely on those features to be less secure and more exposed.” However, the tech giant still rejected their application.
The developers noted that Google does not care about any of the security benefits the wallet offers, adding:
The three soon-to-be missing features have been part of Samourai Wallet since its first release in 2015. They are optional settings that are turned off by default. According to the developers, “To this day no other wallet has enabled these types of features, and now it is very likely no other wallet will, thanks to the heavy hand of Google.”
Another feature to be disabled is Stealth Mode which gives users a way to hide their wallet app from attackers who have physical access to their smartphones. Enabling the feature requires granting the app access to make undetected outgoing calls. The developers tweeted on Monday:
The last feature Google has a problem with is Remote SMS Commands which “allows users who lost their device to remotely erase their bitcoin wallet to prevent further loss of their bitcoin stash,” the wallet developers described. “@Googleplay has killed that as well.”
Meanwhile, they expect to resume offering all features “via alternative distribution methods such as direct download and F-Droid in the coming months.” F-Droid, the most popular alternative Android app marketplace, has fewer restrictions than the Google Play Store but its install process can be too complicated for some users. Samourai developers further wrote:
In the meantime, Samourai developers have advised users to disable stealth mode prior to updating to the new version.