Samourai BTC Wallet Removes Security Features at Google’s Behest for Transparency Policy
Samourai said Google would remove its wallet from Google Play unless it complied with what they see as extremely restrictive policies.
Samourai, which has aimed to provide a Bitcoin-centric experience through adding enhanced anonymity options and removing references to fiat currency, confirmed it was removing three functions from its wallet in time for its latest update released Tuesday.
“Again, we are sorry for this inconvenience, but our hands have been tied by Google,” the blog post reads, adding:
“We hope to bring these features back somehow in the future in the Google Play Store release, and are dedicated to offering the full feature set experience via alternative distribution methods such as direct download and F-Droid in the coming months.”
Google began mandating certain levels of transparency for third-party add-ons since last year.
Samourai, by offering “stealth mode,” remote SMS commands and a way to mitigate the risk of so-called “SIM swapping” attacks, allegedly flouted these, despite all three features being present in its wallet since the time of its 2015 launch.
The stealth mode option for the wallet, which is not enabled by default, is a privacy setting allowing users to hide their apps from their devices’ home screens and disallows notifications of deposits.
“We applied for an exemption with Google months ago, which was rejected days ago, despite our argument that removing such functionality would cause users who rely on those features to be less secure and more exposed,” executives added.
Users are required to disable stealth mode themselves prior to installing the update.
Samourai said the version offered on F-Droid, an open source app store, would remain unchanged.