Adblock Plus for Android removed from Google Play store

Discussion in 'other security issues & news' started by Longboard, Mar 14, 2013.

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  1. Longboard
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    Longboard Registered Member

  2. siljaline
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    siljaline Registered Member

    Many find this distressing including myself for a number of reasons.
    Among the tens of thousands of dubious software on Google Play, why simple ad blocking software ? It would seem something came from down high :cautious:

    According to Google "these apps were in violation of Google Play's Developer Distribution Agreement.

    More:

    http://news.cnet.com/8301-1035_3-57574213-94/google-yanks-ad-blocker-apps-from-google-play/

    http://venturebeat.com/2013/03/13/adblock-plus-removed-google-play-store/

    http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2013/03/google-evicts-ad-blocking-software-from-google-play-store/
  3. Mman79
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    Mman79 Registered Member

    I'm not surprised by this. I'm much more surprised Google hasn't removed ad blockers from its web store really. I see that eventually happening though. Google does not want you using ad blocking because they are an advertising corporation with a side business.
  4. Hungry Man
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    Hungry Man Registered Member

    Interesting. Adblockers do directly break profits, and since Google really wants android to take off, they need to attract devs - if devs can't make money, Google can't make money.
  5. Mman79
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    Mman79 Registered Member

    If Android security and malware apps doesn't stop making Windows look like Fort Knox, it won't last. I care very much that my favorite websites need to make cash to survive and that the easiest way to do that is through ads. But I don't care more about that than I do my own personal privacy and security. Websites making money from ads doesn't need to be changed, but the advertising business does need changing. Enough of the "EverCookie", enough tracking through Flash cookies that are next to impossible to keep off, enough Flash-based "film ads". Enough irritating and often dangerous ads and methods of tracking period.

    Adblockers I am very willing to bet would have never taken off like they did if ads had stayed as simple text ads off in the corner, small, non-flashing banners that didn't scroll down with you and if social media buttons had not started being splattered incessantly across every page you come across. I don't think people would have cared about trackers had those businesses not resorted to the things they have. A simple, upfront "Hey, just so you know, we track you across websites just so we can get an idea of the things you like. We'll stay out of your way though and only collect such and such information. Thanks!".

    Yes, that was me dreaming of a better world that I am well aware will never happen now. The line was crossed and they have no interest in changing.
  6. TheWindBringeth
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    TheWindBringeth Registered Member

    This is why central/official stores are a threat to end users. Not only can the store owner remove products from distribution via the store, their doing so can/will also break updating of the app. Combined with, over time, tightening restrictions on how apps can be installed via other routes and/or the creation of additional hurdles that need to be overcome to go that route, the noose is tightened. Although Adblock Plus is advertised as an ad blocker, it is more than that. It is also a general security application that helps protect you from both incoming threats and outgoing threats. Outgoing threats being, of course, the leaking of information and tracking/profiling (no matter how "politely" it is done I might add).

    It's really a shame that many people have developed this impression that Google cares about security. In reality, I think it accurate to say that Google and those of similar mind only care about those aspects of security that make platforms more reliable for decreasing people's security in other ways. Read: security threats that increase our profit are okie dokie! If that isn't a test of someone's character, I don't know what is.
  7. siljaline
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    siljaline Registered Member

  8. mirimir
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    mirimir Registered Member

    So is there no other way to get Android apps except from the Google Play store?
  9. LoneWolf
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    LoneWolf Registered Member

    As far as Adblock Plus is concerned it can be downloaded directly from the developer here.......
    http://adblockplus.org/en/android-about
  10. mirimir
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    mirimir Registered Member

    Good. Thanks. I'm ignorant about Android. And clearly lazy :(
  11. Mman79
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    Mman79 Registered Member

    Successful diversion tactic. It'll happen in Chrome in time, I'm sure of it. Their issue of course will always be that the extension can just be hosted on the official ABP website. Then again, maybe they won't need to remove it since Chrome starts acting up after you install ABP anyway...conspiracy theory anyone? *slips on trench coat and sunglasses, begins walk down dark, foggy alley*
  12. Hungry Man
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    Hungry Man Registered Member

    When Chrome includes extension/app APIs to include ads, and that catches on, they may decide to do that.
  13. siljaline
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    siljaline Registered Member

    Cited already but the manual proxy required is a major concern with ABP for Android -
    https://adblockplus.org/en/android-config

    Downloading from untrusted sources may violate your phone warranty and wireless carrier's terms of service - beware.

    Last edited: Mar 26, 2013
  14. siljaline
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    siljaline Registered Member

  15. TheWindBringeth
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    TheWindBringeth Registered Member

    It sounds as though Android has no mechanism for editing the list of "Known Sources" and chose a poor name for that to begin with :(

    How would things behave if you temporarily enable "installation from unknown sources", install Adblock Plus or whatever app it is you are trying to install, then return the "installation from unknown sources" setting to the disabled state? Edit: If that works OK then the Adblock Plus page wording could explicitly mention and encourage returning the setting to disabled when you are done.
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2013
  16. siljaline
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    siljaline Registered Member

    See: Application Content Ratings (varies by device)
    http://support.google.com/googleplay/bin/answer.py?hl=en-CA&answer=1075738 The user may alter these settings depending on level of maturity and app rating.

    That would like disabling your anti-virus for a time in order for something to function correctly then re-enabling the protection. To those looking in, I am not against how vocal ABP was when they and many others were booted from Google Play, that's tough nuggets. Flooding the Web with compliant threads probably won't have Google reverse the Developer Agreement.
  17. TheWindBringeth
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    TheWindBringeth Registered Member

    That doesn't appear to be a mechanism for controlling which sources are considered "unknown" and thus require special steps to install from.

    I've read that there is a "Verify Apps" setting (enabled by default) in addition to the "Allow installation of non-Market apps" setting (disabled by default), and users will get a "Allow Google to check all apps installed to this device for harmful behavior" prompt the first time they install from an unknown source. If they allow it, information will be uploaded to Google and 1) if the app is deemed a "potential threat" you will get a warning, 2) if the app is deemed a genuine threat the install will be blocked.

    IOW, it sounds as though there is "cloud AV" like feature which is separate from the "block installs from unknown sources" type feature.

    The latter feature doesn't seem very well thought out and/or geared towards security.
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