The team behind Samourai, the privacy-focused bitcoin wallet, has removed a series of key security-related features from a version of its app as a result of “extremely restrictive policies” by Google.
Having released version 0.99.04 of its app Tuesday on the digital distribution service run by Google, called Google Play, Samourai explained in a blog post that three features – stealth mode, SIM switch defense, and remote SMS commands – have been removed as a result of Google’s push to “become more of a ‘walled garden’ experience.”
A version that contains those features is available, but not through Google’s app service. Google did not respond to a request for comment.
“Walled garden” is a term synonymous with closed-platform or closed ecosystem, referring to a software system where the service provider takes on holistic control over all operations in the system including applications, content and media. However, this is not a new trend taken on by Google, but rather one that has been proliferating for years among big technology companies even outside of Google, including Facebook and Amazon.
Speaking to CoinDesk, co-founder of Samourai who goes by the pseudonym “SW” explained that the walled garden remark was in reference to a series of policy changes carried out over the last year by Google towards all Play store application developers.
“Users of Samourai might have noticed that they are no longer getting notifications on when they receive bitcoin. That’s because if you want to use notification services you have to route everything through Google services,” said SW.
The accumulation of “little things like that” according to SW is pushing Samourai developers to opt-out of more features when releasing new wallet versions to the application.