Reactions as Google Lunched an App For Creditors To Lock You Out of Your Mobile Phone if You Default

We noticed an app on the Google Play Store app named “Device Lock Controller

Device Lock Controller enables device management for credit providers. Your loan provider can remotely restrict access to your device if you don’t make payments on time. If your device is restricted, basic functionality, such as emergency calling and access to settings, will still be available but it can monitor and manage your applications data associated with your device, including settings, permissions, corporate access, network activity and device location information.

The application utilizes Android’s Device Admin Service API or Security Plugin to remotely control your android device usefulness. This is the very API that different companies use to control how their staff can manage their work phones. Organizations that gives telephones to their workers ordinarily control the applications that utilization this API, so it’s basically impossible to uninstall or deactivate them.

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Probably, loan firms (creditors), like a bank or other monetary organization, can control Google’s Device Lock Controller application prior to giving loan or mobile phone to their customers with the aim of paying install-mentally, and assuming that the customer can’t make an installment, they can remotely keep them out of their mobile phone be restricting most of the useful apps on the device.

My reasoning on this app are very different, but mostly negative. I understand that the loan companies like easybuy, palmpay ok, Creditme, Fairmoney, Quickcheck etc are taking a risk when providing loans, but I think it’s rather counterproductive to disable access to most functionality of the phone.

That mobile phone is the main computing device for most of people, especially for those who can not afford a Personal Computer and in-home Internet. So, the Device Lock Controller app still lets you place and receive phone calls, but so much business is conducted over the Internet these days that it’s really important to stay connected. The fingerpring on the smart phone will be cancelled, most businesses are on whatsapp and this app will be locked if you dont make your payment on time.


Perhaps to somebody else they may. I guarantee they don’t push anything to mine because I use LineageOS /e/ fork with Micro G – No Google apps or services can run on my phone. My location services, sensor drivers and proprietary blobs are all handled by Google alternative apps and services. Many people with privacy concerns are turning to this setup as an alternative to a Google based Android build. Based on your username, Root, I am assuming you are familiar with this.

I read on it daily. I’m an active maintainer for the Micro G as well as the LineageOS /e/ fork You should read my original statement on this. Running Google-free is a three-tier Android overlay build.

The entire setup runs the /e/ fork of Lineage 16.0 WITH MICRO G. I build these ROMs using the latest upstream source code. So I read on it every day of the week. I’m running this ROM on my daily driver and my Nexus 9 table. It’s Google-free. If you’d like to learn more on this, come join us at XDA.

I’m an active maintainer for Micro G. We can talk some Linux coding all day long. You’re speaking my language. I maintain for the Nexus 6, Moto G7 Power, and the Moto G4 (Athene model xt1625).. But, again if you would like to learn more on this, use the device search option on XDA for the three devices I maintain. Be glad to have you.

There are absolutely no Google services, apps or processes. It is 100% Google free. And MicroG isn’t an app or process per se.. It’s an entire code-based framework which serves as an overlay core for the base Android OS — again, in this case LineageOS /e/ fork 16.0 (Android 9 Pie). And with the “want a cookie” stuff, I take it in all good humor. I mean you no disrespect, and I feel no disrespect from you.

It is useless to say someone will provide more privacy when not even him know which libraries are connected:
“It is a powerful tool to reclaim your privacy and freedom while enjoying Android core features (although apps you use that take advantage of it may still be using proprietary libraries to communicate with microG, just as they do when communicating with the actual Google Play Services).”

Micro G will never be a replacement to Google Play Services, it is just a reverse engineering who connect to the same libraries just have 20% cover and make a security hole in android , nothing more nothing less.

I support open source not reverse engineering.

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That’s good to know. Now if a customer comes in my repair shop with one of these phones locked by this service, I know to strip the phone of its OS, install Lineage or another AOSP or CAF fork of custom.ROM, and reinstall a custom GApps package minus the lock service.

Either way, I’m against this app. Especially forcibly allowing the creditors app to be installed. Google needs to stay TF out of the neighbors kitchen. It isn’t their place to be making this app.

So a person has money to pay you but still not paying the bank who loaned him the money to buy this phone and you still helping him it’s like you are literally helping a criminal.Indeed, if it was a criminal offense in the state of Kentucky, I would have to agree wholeheartedly. Who a person owes and the circumstances surrounding an alleged debt is none of my business. That’s between the debtor and the creditor. The Kentucky Supreme Court agrees with this premise as well. In order to “literally” help a “criminal,” an underlying act must first be a crime.It’s a civil offense and not a criminal one. But again, that’s in Kentucky; I cannot speak for the laws of other states or jurisdictions. The legalities of remote security and locking services were addressed several years back when Rent-a-Center presented a very similar scenario to the judiciary. The holding in Kentucky on the financing of electronics is clear: an individual’s refusal or inability to make contractual payments on a financed item or tangible merchandise is civil in nature.The creditor can attempt to repossess the item, and/or they can bring a lawsuit in small claims court. They cannot, however, initiate a criminal charge. This is extremely controversial subject matter to.say the least, and there are many people who share your view. Ethically, Kevin Smith, I can’t dispute your core point. But, there are also very common scenarios where an unknowing individual purchases a phone that has been locked by the carrier.

I agree! This statement, albeit long, is quite close to what I believe on this matter. I think it should be the responsibility of the person on such a matter, not the alternate service that the person takes it to. If he steals something, that’s his problem, and it’s between him and the company he stole the item from. Pawn shops often carry stolen goods, and without even knowing it. Some put security measures up, but there isn’t a 100% fool-proof way, not even with all the advancements of technology we have today.

Now, I’m not saying that theft is good, but I don’t think it’s Shane’s position to come after a criminal unless directly involved by law enforcement. Trying to catch criminals before the criminal act often requires eliminating the privacy of the innocent, and this is not a good thing. People should be taught to be responsible, not simply rely on their government to take care of the problem. That’s what’s wrong with the United States today, but then again, that’s another topic for another day.

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Well stated friend. And to clarify for my own sake, I also do not condone theft, nor do I condone making a financial agreement with a person and then breaking that agreement out of deception. I have a position that I maintain on this subject with regard to the small business I run: I don’t want to know how a person acquired a phone with a remote locking system engaged. I always run ESN, IMEI or MEID numbers on devices I work on.

If the device has formally been reported as stolen, or has been flagged for purposes concerning fraudulent activity, I kindly let the customer that I’m unable to work on the phone and I let them know the reason. This is where the law gets a little bit grey area-ish. The current statutes provide that I am prohibited legally from working on an actual item reported stolen.

(Someone owing money on a device does not qualify here as theft, as I pointed out previously). The law doesn’t require that I contact the authorities and report the matter, only that I do not assume temporary possession to do any type of work on the phone. Some repair places will call the police. I choose not to, because again I do not ask, not do I want told, how a person came to be in possession of a locked device.

I guess morally and ethically I straddle the fence, never breaking the law myself but also never aiding I’m the prosecution of a thief. And by the way, I also love Cyanogen and CyanogenMod. I cannot do away with my SNAPSHOT build of CM 13.0 for my Moto E 2015. Wonderful ROM.

With respect, it is mostly the Republicans that push these laws to expand the power of the federal government. Both parties have done it, but your blame is largely misplaced. While you are busy fighting the opposing political party (whoever you side with), corruption is rampant in the federal government and they are constantly expanding their own powers over us.

The fighting between political parties is classic misdirection; they are both all too happy to let us continue being divided, fighting against each other over trivial things while they enjoy keeping the status quo. We should be fighting against them.

The 2 party system is a miserable failure. All it does it induce fighting between people who have picked a side to stand with. It doesn’t matter who does what: just blame the other political party.

This mentality is a large part of the problem. This is actually very common human behavior if we look at history. People pair off into social groups to survive, but if the group doesn’t like you, they’ll cast you out and you’ll need to fend for yourself. This is instinctual behavior… but we really need to be aware of it so we can correct it. Both parties have kicked us out, while they give us some BS to fight each other about.

This is why it’s better to either buy cheap phones wholesale or flagships on major discount. I saved over $400 on my smart phone, and thus was able to afford it.

I don’t really approve of this, but it seems that when you’re renting, you’re already at the mercy of retailers and mobile carriers, so whatevs. Just don’t lock me out of my fully-paid phone, or I’ll really be ticked off!

Just so people understand, there are ways to circumvent this (i.e. by rooting and modifying system files), but doing so might cause you legal issues due to the fact that you’re under contract until the payments are done, so I would not recommend it. I do recommend that before renting, you should read the fine print of your contract first!

Get a lawyer, if you find that it’s mostly phrases like “If the company/persons/puppies do not honor the legalities/rules/wall of text in section 800.9AB of this contract, fail to comply with the carrier’s Terms of Service and contradict the enabling service and/or software and/or apps and/or virtual assistant which we have provided, then this contract is nullified and the user will be fined according to the state (of mind) that he is in!”

At the very least this will prevent or help to prevent the trend of getting a phone from your carrier, defaulting on payment, and then trying to sell it to an unsuspecting buyer who gets burned when the ESN blacklists.

I can understand the “need” for such an app. The same thing happens when we do not pay our water, electric, cable, etc., etc., bills! Utilities get turned off…restricted! What makes it so sad is that so many people are unable to pay their bills and IT’S NOT THEIR FAULT! We live in a world of despicable presidents and political leaders all around the world who care for no one other than themselves and cause mass chaos for untold millions of poor people. Then on the other hand their are those who will take advantage of the system even if they can afford to pay their bills. So there you go! You’re damned if you do, and damned if you don’t!

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I can not understand the need for such app. If you cannot pay, then they could simply shut down the internet or calls/SMS. Why restrict anything in the device itself?

My point is that cutting off cellular capabilities may cause more harm than good, it may also not be effective enough as a deterrent e.g. wifi.

Definitely not new. Rent-a-Center, Colorama, Aaron’s.and other rent-to-own businesses have been doing this for around 8 years now. Remote locking software would be preinstalled on a financed smartphone or tablet. If the creditor stopped receiving contractual payments, the remote locking software rendered the device inoperable.

A screen showing a padlock and a 1-800 number would persist on the device display, directing the person with the device to either make the overdue payments or return the device to the store. It was a great idea but unfortunately it did not work. The remote locking software was surreptitiously installed on the /efs partition.

Since the bootloaders on these devices could be unlocked, the locking software could be removed in less than 3 minutes and the device working good as new. I think nowadays, these type businesses get devices manufactured specifically for the rent-to-own genre. The bootloaders cannot be unlocked and the phone is very secure. Now that Google is getting involved in this (Samsung has been doing it for 3 years already.

Via contracts with larger rent-to-own companies, Samsung manufactures devices specifically for this type of business), it sounds problematic. Google services and apps, as you likely know, can be removed completely with root, an unlocked bootloader, etc. Perhaps, as somebody commented earlier, these devices will be made secure and not able to be rooted or unlocked, similar to how Samsung does it.

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They already block your IMEI if you don’t pay. They blacklist it so no network will touch it (they all have an “unwritten” agreement with each other so they don’t get too competitive and drive market prices down.)

Emergency calling will always work regardless of IMEI blacklist. You can add numbers to emergency calling list with root.

They want to be able to brick your phone if you don’t pay so you don’t get WiFi and Netflix unless you pay them first. Plus they can break it remotely after you’ve paid it off and blame you for the damage (but give you a “good deal” if you trade it in for a new contract phone.) Don’t forget to get warranty with your new phone in case you break it again.

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