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Samourai Wallet Removing Certain Privacy Features After Google's Rejection

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Bitcoin wallet provider Samourai Wallet is forced to remove certain important privacy features from their app in order to maintain continuance of the app on its digital distribution service Google Play.

Samourai Wallet said it is temporarily disabling Stealth Mode, Remote SMS Commands, and SIM Switch Defense features due to the restrictive Google Play Store policies. Google has been advocating certain levels of transparency for third-party add-ons since last year.

The three features that are removed have been included in Samourai Wallet since its first release version in 2015.

The Stealth Mode has provided users in hostile environments a way to transact with Bitcoin (BTC) on their device without making it obvious they were carrying around a Bitcoin wallet.

Remote SMS Commands allow users who lost their device to remotely erase their Bitcoin Wallet to prevent further loss of their Bitcoin stash.

SIM Switch Defense has alerted users to the fact that their SIM card was being hijacked due to extremely poor operational security capabilities by their network carrier.

The features will be removed as of Samourai Wallet version 0.99.04, which has been released today. Samourai Wallet advised users to disable Stealth Mode prior to updating to version 0.99.04.

"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," Samourai said.

The wallet provider applied for an exemption with Google months ago, which was rejected a few days ago despite their argument that removing such functionality would cause users who rely on those features to be less secure and more exposed.

The company also provided evidence of the SIM Switch Defense feature alerting users countless times to attempted SIM Swap attacks on their SIM Cards.

The company said, "Google does not care about any of this however, and Samourai Wallet would have been removed from the Google Play Store had we not complied with this dictate."

Samourai Wallet is now in the process of evolving alternative distribution methods and offering the full feature set experience to users through self hosted APK downloads and inclusion in the open source F-Droid app store in the coming months.

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