Technology

Things you’re not meant to do with Android: Operate a full scale nuclear power station

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Do you read the terms and conditions for online products?  Us neither, which is a shame because we missed this doozy of a condition buried in Google Play Store’s legal documents.

In amongst the usual statements about content ownership and returns policies Google has a few caveats about when you’re not allowed to use Android apps.

Apparently, and quite understandably, Google doesn’t want you using Android or Android apps to operate a full scale nuclear power facility.  This is, of course, perfectly reasonable ,if not a little worrying that they felt they needed to include such a warning.

After all, it’s just a bit too specific. Just let that sink in, Google warns you against using your consumer-level smartphone or tablet to operate an industrial level nuclear power facility (if you are operating any part of a nuclear power station with an Android app, please stop, ‘cos it’s worrying).  It’s not forbidden to do so (at least by Google’s terms and conditions, although we imagine it’s illegal) but Google says that Android and Android apps are “not intended for use” in the operation of such facilities.

Other things you’re not meant to do with Android apps include; using them to operate any life support system; for emergency communications; navigating an aeroplane, helicopter or other aircraft; or as an aircraft control system.

As powerful as the latest version of Android is, I know I don’t like the idea that a life support system or an airport was depending Google’s free OS to keep me alive.

But as worryingly specific as Android Play Store’s terms and conditions are the ones on Apple’s iTunes Store are absolutely terrifying.  When it comes to iOS apps Apple says you’re not allowed to use its products to aid in the creation of nuclear missiles or chemical/biological weapons.

“You also agree that you will not use these products for any purposes prohibited by United States law, including, without limitation, the development, design, manufacture, or production of nuclear, missile, or chemical or biological weapons.”

Which we feel is an entirely reasonable – please don’t use iTunes apps, or indeed any Apple product, to make weapons of any kind.

Both sites have long and rambling terms and conditions but to find two specific statements about the use of apps for the development or management of nuclear material is, to be honest, a little concerning.

Hopefully their lawyers were just being over-cautious more than anything else…

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Piers Dillon Scott
Piers Dillon-Scott is co-editor of The Sociable and writes about stuff he finds. He likes technology, media, and using the Oxford comma (because it just makes sense).