Google Play Bans our Covid app built for an Indian City Government.
by Sharib Khan
On April 4, 2020, we received a notice from Google Play store banning our entire play store account.
This was our third unsuccessful attempt to submit an app for tracking COVID-19 Symptoms, in an effort to help the local authorities in Srinagar (Govt. of Jammu and Kashmir), India, to streamline their quarantine and COVID-19 containment measures. Our goal was to provide free services to support the local government authorities manage the pandemic. It got rejected with the below reason:
This was our 3rd rejection for the same app (the multiple submissions, because we initially thought the name was problematic, with the 3rd version including the reference to the local government to indicate legitimacy). So essentially this meant that not only was Google NOT happy with our COVID app, but it also blocked our entire account, making other apps simply disappear overnight from the play store.
Upon this rejection, we submitted an official appeal to Google, including an an official/signed document from the local government representative. Twice. Well i guess, a local city administration wanting to an app for its residents to track COVID symptoms was not good enough.
But the story doesn’t end there. Not only did Google reject the COVID app, it also banned our entire account which has resulted in us losing two of our prominent apps used by a large community of patients:
Lyme Tracker App (3k+ users). Built in partnership with the Global Lyme Alliance as part of an HHS innovation sprint and released at the White House, the Lyme Tracker app is used by 3,000 plus users to track their Lyme Symptoms. Now that is not available to the community
PCOS Tracker App (15k+ users). Used by women in more than 100+ countries tracking their PCOS and related symptoms through this app. Data from this App has been submitted at AMIA, a leading medical informatics conference in the US.
The Sleepfect Tracker App – a sleep tracker app, data from which has been presented at the ‘Sleep Meeting’ by a New York University research team.
MyHypoT tracks hypothyroidism symptoms in more than 500 people.
Google Play (@GooglePlayDev) bans our app to help local city administration in India track COVID. Also shuts out a Lyme Tracker app released at the White House & a PCOS tracker app used by 15k+ women. https://t.co/4DpZqZtLln— TrialX (@TrialX) May 19, 2020
*Update* : May 20, 2020
We keep getting emails from users like below who are not able to find the app