Samourai Wallet, a popular Bitcoin wallet, announces that it has to disable key security features due to pressure from Google.
In our internet age, it’s an interesting phenomenon to have so much power concentrated in the hands of a few technological companies. While this allows for an easier road for common standards in some regards, quite a few people are leery of having to always play by a company’s rules, especially if they are deemed arbitrary. The most powerful company in this regard is Google, and they are once again impacting the cryptocurrency ecosystem.
Google Putting the Clamps on Samourai Wallet
Samourai Wallet was created a few years ago by privacy advocates. As such, their Bitcoin wallet boasts a number of key features to allow for greater anonymity. (One could argue that Google despises anonymity as they make their money by collecting, using, and selling data from its users.)
However, certain privacy-focused features are now being disabled for the Samourai Wallet found in the Google Play Store. A blog post from the wallet developers says:
It is with great sadness that we are disabling the following features within Samourai Wallet as of version 0.99.04 – which will be released tomorrow – due to new extremely restrictive policies Google has decided to introduce in their effort to become more of a “walled garden” experience:
- Stealth Mode
- SIM Switch Defense
- Remote SMS Commands
All three of these features have been included in Samourai Wallet since our first release in 2015 and have helped define our product as a unique offering instead of the same old lazy copy paste job that is rife in this industry, as well as provide protection and security to the countless users who rely on these features. 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.
No Exemption Given
The developers of Samourai Wallet applied for an exemption from Google but to no avail. They even pointed out that one key feature, SIM Switch Defense, has been quite effective in combating SIM Swap attacks, which has become increasingly prevalent. Such declarations fell on deaf ears.
Google has not been the biggest supporter of cryptocurrency. They banned advertisements for cryptocurrency-related businesses for a period of time. They’ve also banned apps that feature crypto mining from their app store, not to mention getting rid of a number of popular Bitcoin wallets as well from the store.
However, all is not lost with Samourai Wallet. The developers have announced the release of the wallet via direct download on GitHub that has the stealth features intact.
Do you think Google was wrong to force Samourai Wallet to disable the privacy features? Let us know in the comments below.
Images courtesy of YouTube/@ Samourai Wallet and DepositPhotos.