Microsoft detailed how it intend to use the “kill switch” feature in Windows Phone 7. “A kill switch is a tool that allows software controllers to remove certain apps or software from both handsets as well as from the store if they pose a security or privacy risk, such as a Trojan planted in an app.”
According to Todd Biggs, Microsoft’s strict testing apps when submitted for inclusion in Marketplace “should minimise kill switch use,” but he explained how the company would react if an app was deemed unsafe once it had been approved.
“If in the Marketplace an app does get through and goes rogue there’re a couple of things we can do about it, depending on what it was,” he said.
“We could unpublish it from the catalogue so that it was no longer available, but if it was very rogue then we could remove apps from handsets – we don’t want things to go that far, but we could.”
Rather than pushing out an instant zap the kill switch would be activated when handsets “checked in” with Marketplace as part of routine maintenance.
“From a high-level perspective, phones check in to see if there’re any downloads or updates available and it’ll also check if there’re any apps that shouldn’t be on there,” he said. “There might be instances where we would remove the app.”