As modern smartphones continue to become more advanced, the prices of the devices are increasing at an alarming rate. So, in order to help customers, many major smartphone manufacturers like Apple and Samsung provide credit facilities to help them pay the amount as monthly installments. However, for any unexpected circumstances, if you cannot pay an installment, your credit provider may lock some important functions of your device. And to help them do so, Google released a dedicated app for banks or creditors.
Spotted by the folks at XDA Developers, the Device Lock Controller app from Google lets financers of smartphones remotely lock an Android device. It uses the DeviceAdminService API in the Android system and enables banks and financers to lock significant functionalities of your Android device if you fail to make your monthly payment.
With the device locked, users will be able to access very limited functions in their smartphones. These include emergency calls, incoming and select outgoing calls, settings, and backup and restore service.
Now, surprisingly, the “Device Lock Controller” app does not appear when you search for it on the Google Play Store and nor does it appear in the list of apps made by Google. So, XDA executives reached out to Google for clarification about this.
So, according to Google, the app was developed by them in partnership with a Kenyan carrier, Safaricom. A spokesperson from Google told XDA that the app was developed to help Safaricom with their new “Lipa Mdogo Mdogo” (Pay Bit by Bit) financing plan which lets customers get an Android Go device with monthly financing.
However, if the customer could not pay an installment after four days of its due date, Safaricom locks the device with this Google app. That’s one way of using brute force to make users pay their EMIs on time.
So, if creditor’s info is incorrect (you’ve paid, but their system has processed it wrong), they lock most functions of your phone. .. Or, creditor’s site gets hacked & lock most functions on the phones they finance….
I don’t condone people not paying their bills, but I also don’t believe companies don’t make mistakes or get hacked.
Considering it’s been years since I bought a phone, I guess I missed the part about finance companies handling the payments. I still thought the provider did that. I guess not.
Why do they need that ? Google has full control no matter what :p