New Google app could help providers block phone functions if you miss installment payments

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A strange app has surfaced on the Google Play Store, an app from Google called “Device Lock Controller”. The app was quietly released back in June and has around 10 downloads as of this reporting. Basically, the app is designed to let creditors, banks, carriers (whoever you owe money to) limit function on the device if you fall behind on payments.

The app’s function is described on the Play Store as follows:

Device Lock Controller enables device management for credit providers. Your provider can remotely restrict access to your device if you do not many payments. If your device is restricted, basic functionality, such as emergency calling and access to settings, will still be available.

As per a report from XDA-Developers, who first noticed the app, writes that the DeviceAdminService API is being used in the app to remotely control functions of the device. “This is the same API that enterprises use to control what employees can do with their work phones.” A credit could lock your out of using your phone if you’re behind on payments.

Device Lock Controller app
Device Lock Controller app
Device Lock Controller app
Device Lock Controller app

Device Lock Controller app

There’s an ethical dilemma with apps like this. While lenders and providers want to make sure that payments will be made on financed devices, it poses an issue for folks who use a smartphone as their primary device. Staying connected is crucial, especially in 2020, so I’m going to give them the benefit of the doubt and suggest one of the reasons for an app like this could be to prevent people from scamming buyers in private sales of a phone that hasn’t been paid off which would result in the unsuspecting buyer to find out when it’s too late.

We’ve always heard of cutting cell service when missing payments, but the same practice was never associated with a device that was being paid off, at least not from the phone end. Sometimes devices from carriers with outstanding balances could be blacklisted from working on the network until the balance of the phone is paid off – the same thing can happen when a customer decides to leave the carrier. This happens from the backend. If you, however, manage to export the phone, it can still be used on some other network.

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