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Android developers can now block rooted devices, Netflix bites
By Thom Holwerda on 2017-05-18 21:46:03

Over the weekend, it was discovered that the Android Netflix application could no longer be installed on rooted Android devices - in fact, it vanished from the Play Store on rooted devices completely. Netflix then confirmed it started blocking rooted devices from installing the Netflix application.

Well, it turns out we'll only be going downhill from here, as Google explained at I/O that from now on, developers will be able to block their applications from being installed on rooted Android devices.

Developers will be able to choose from 3 states shown in the top image: not excluding devices based on SafetyNet, excluding those that don't pass integrity, or excluding the latter plus those that aren't certified by Google. That means any dev could potentially block their apps from showing and being directly installable in the Play Store on devices that are rooted and/or running a custom ROM, as well as on emulators and uncertified devices (think Meizu and its not-so-legal way of getting Play Services and the Play Store on its phones). This is exactly what many of you were afraid would happen after the Play Store app started surfacing a Device certification status.

This is bad news for the custom ROM community. If I can no longer install Netflix (and possibly more applications) on custom ROMs, there's no way I'll be using custom ROMs on my devices. For now, this is a Play function and we can still sideload the applications in question, but with Google Play Services installed on virtually every Android device, one has to wonder - and worry - how long it'll be before such checks happen on-device instead of in-Play.

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Read Comments: 1-10 -- 11-20 -- 21-30 -- 31-37
Apple Music
By jonsmirl on 2017-05-18 22:18:41
Apple Music is blocked too

The API already supports the app doing a cryptographic check every 30 minutes to ensure the device is uncompromised. Google sends key to app, app sends key to server, server asks google to validate the key. If the key has been messed with -- server can turn off the app. Everything is protected with public key encryption.

They are using a similar scheme to keep anyone except the anointed few from building Chromecast devices. All of the Chromecast code is available, but if your device key is not in the authorized database no one will cast to you. If you're not a multinational corporation forget about making a Chromecast device unless you don't mind incorporating a $70 HW module from one of these giants.


Edited 2017-05-18 22:29 UTC
Permalink - Score: 6
Roadmap obvious
By Adurbe on 2017-05-18 22:30:26
Google want to kill the ROM market once and for all. It served its purpose, brought Devs to the platform. Now with apple/android duopoly firmly in place they don't need it anymore. Time to monetize it.
Permalink - Score: 14
Comment by ssokolow
By ssokolow on 2017-05-18 23:02:39
To paraphrase the TorrentFreak article, we'll see if this causes any increase in piracy.

(It won't change my habits, but only because NetFlix was already too DRMed and too "financially endorsing the behaviour of the MPAA" for me to subscribe. In fact, I've been boycotting the MPAA for so long that I accidentally trained myself to find film as a medium to be too slow-moving and information-sparse compared to novels.)

Edited 2017-05-18 23:06 UTC
Permalink - Score: 7
Comment by Amanita
By Amanita on 2017-05-18 23:13:29
Somehow I always felt a taste of 'wrong' with Google/Android allowing one to get root access so easy when the only real competitor is locking down its platform so hard ... if you're having a monopole, you don't want your product being open for hacks of all sort.

Nevertheless I got fooled into it too and Google snubbed me with this move. I'll get rid of Android asap. Just ... there are no real options yet(?) Hope for other people looking for an alternative.

Ubuntu (sigh) or Firefox OS etc.. Linux for Phones in the end now for real? While I'm using Linux as my primary OS atm, I'm hoping for someome coming up with something really new, better, cleaner, faster ... using a system that has its roots more than 40 years ago on brand-new technology doesn't feel right too (granted, *nix is stable & well known though)

Edited 2017-05-18 23:17 UTC
Permalink - Score: 3
Google embracing the dark side.
By Alfman on 2017-05-19 02:18:44
> With our latest 5.0 release, we now fully rely on the Widevine DRM provided by Google; therefore, many devices that are not Google-certified or have been altered will no longer work with our latest app and those users will no longer see the Netflix app in the Play Store.

Google, you know damn well DRM doesn't stop piracy, this serves to increase piracy by forcing us to loose access to content through legitimate channels. As always, DRM hurts innocent users while doing nothing whatsoever to stop actual infringers. We're all loosing rights on our own devices because of this. Fuck you google.

...and to everyone who thought open promoters like me were only being critical of microsoft, take note!
Permalink - Score: 9
RE: Google embracing the dark side.
By leech on 2017-05-19 03:11:15
I second that, fuck Google. Now who wants to try to go back to the Nokia N900 or N9 and update things? I already thought of doing such, only thing that was stopping me is I kind of like my Samsung Gear S2.

Granted, I don't use Netflix on any of my Android devices, but I don't get it, they finally made it so it'd work correctly in Firefox on Linux, then they break it for rooted Android phones? And seriously, what is wrong with rooting your own device? It was SO easy on the Nokia, but on Android devices you have to run around and install untrusted random crap (which of course does make it 'wrong'). Ugh.
Permalink - Score: 5
RE: Comment by Amanita
By nicubunu on 2017-05-19 06:05:19
Linux for Phones is practically dead: Mozilla dropped it, Canonical dropped it, Samsung is incompetent.
Permalink - Score: 3
Why not ?
By agentj on 2017-05-19 06:50:59
Why would any company care about some statistically insignificant hippies who don't have any money anyway ?

Edited 2017-05-19 06:51 UTC
Permalink - Score: 2
There are workaround
By ov1d1u on 2017-05-19 07:31:13
There are workarounds for this, one of them is Magisk which is already gaining traction in the custom ROMs world. Magisk can hide the fact that the device is rooted to a list of selected applications, making the system to pass the SafetyNet checks.

Anyway, the reason why Google is doing that it's not because they don't like rooted devices but because is more easy to tamper with a rooted device and for Netflix, by example, this means that videos downloaded in app can be easily extracted.

Edited 2017-05-19 07:31 UTC
Permalink - Score: 8
RE: Comment by Amanita
By mistersoft on 2017-05-19 08:17:00
Regarding Linux for Phones - I think the only chance of getting proper (open)Linux phone off the ground and outwith of corporate control and vested interests: would be if some big names -and I'm thinking Torvalds, Stallman, Behlendorf etc- set-up an international crowdfunded project to do a linux phone from scratch (hardware but largely software)using zero binary blobs - even if that means using second or third tier SOCs, developing baseband processors from scratch - would be a big project. But only one FUNDED by the people for the people could really do the business. Don't see it happening. Would be nice though

Edited 2017-05-19 08:17 UTC
Permalink - Score: 4

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