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posted by martyb on Thursday December 07, @11:55AM   Printer-friendly
from the ad-vanced-protection dept.

Ads are just a fact of life in mobile apps. You can't completely avoid them, but there are some ad implementations that are so annoying that Google has explicitly disallowed them from the Play Store. Remember Airpush? The current advertising scourge is ad-infused lock screens, which have shown up in previously safe apps like ES File Explorer, Peel, and Hotspot Shield VPN. Google has finally listened to our pleading, and lock screen ads are no longer allowed in the Play Store.

Technically, the new policy is a bit more nuanced than "no ads on the lock screen." Here's the new section on Google's developer monetization page.

Lockscreen Monetization

Unless the exclusive purpose of the app is that of a lockscreen, apps may not introduce ads or features that monetize the locked display of a device.

So, an app that bills itself as a photo editor, VPN, or file explorer cannot also cram a new lock screen on your device that's infested with ads. However, an app that is actually a lock screen can still monetize with ads. Presumably, you know what you're getting when you install a lock screen app.


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  • (Score: 5, Interesting) by WizardFusion on Thursday December 07, @12:01PM (4 children)

    by WizardFusion (498) Subscriber Badge on Thursday December 07, @12:01PM (#606773) Journal

    Ads are just a fact of life in mobile apps. You can't completely avoid them

    I don't see any ads on my phone.

    I use NoRootFirewall [] to block most applications from accessing the internet.
    Those that do need internet access, I use rules to block the most common ad domains.

    Not seen a advert for quite a while.

    • (Score: 2) by fishybell on Thursday December 07, @04:47PM (3 children)

      by fishybell (3156) Subscriber Badge on Thursday December 07, @04:47PM (#606860)

      And the cat and mouse game continues.

      I've had several apps that would update to a new version, still with no permissions for the internet, that suddenly have ads. I noticed that these apps would balloon in size from a megabyte or two to 20 to 30. They were essentially full of pre-downloaded ads. Sneaky bastards got a wee nod, then deletion.

  • (Score: 3, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 07, @12:11PM (2 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 07, @12:11PM (#606775)

    Ads are just a fact of life in mobile apps.

    Only if you don't know what you are doing.

    Install F-Droid ( which itself has lots of apps with no ads at all, then install Blokada ( from the F-Droid store.

    Suddenly you see almost zero ads. Blokada has blocked 54,926 ads on my phone since I installed it (it reports how much it has blocked).

    Go even further and install Firefox mobile then add Ublock Origin to Firefox mobile and you can block a whole bunch more, such as all the F'ing dick bars ( that have begun infesting so many web pages recently.

    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Wootery on Thursday December 07, @12:37PM

      by Wootery (2341) on Thursday December 07, @12:37PM (#606776)

      There's another solution: stop using a million different spammy apps.

      I use very few apps. Audible, Spotify, and a few others. There's no need for a huge arsenal of apps, especially not from untrustworthy vendors. When possible, just use the web to get the job done.

    • (Score: 1) by anubi on Friday December 08, @05:19AM

      by anubi (2828) Subscriber Badge on Friday December 08, @05:19AM (#607101)

      Another browser that so far is working pretty good is Brave browser ( This one is at Aptoide ) []

      One of you guys clued me in to this one a couple of weeks ago, when I had just about hit my breaking point on the Javascript Lock Screen option that the JavaScript team so "wisely" provided to WebMasters.

      I was then of the opinion that my phone was next to useless for browsing the web because few webmasters seemed to know just how frustrating they can be by forcing me to interact with an ad. More and more of us know ANY interaction with an ad using JavaScript technologies can have devastating results if an asshole webmaster coded it such. Every one of us who has had malware delivered to our machine is a new convert.

      Many of us end up spending hundreds of dollars to purge our machine of the results of an ignorantly clicked spot.

      How much do I trust a website that is flat demanding I click on an ad? Safer to close the window from the browser itself before I invoke any surprise JavaScript code?

      Or, should I play it safe and use JavaScript blockers?

      While I may THINK that clicking the "X" would close the ad, it could be coded to implant unwanted programs in my phone as well. It takes a lot of trust, knowing how JavaScript is written for the WebMaster's ability to control the client, not the client. The trick is to get me to click on something. The magic is with the illusion that if I do this, I expect a specific thing to happen. But this is not the case with something as powerful as JavaScript. It can overwrite the URL bar, so as to mislead me as to where I am. With the magic of JavaScript, anything can be programmed to do anything. By trying to close a window, I may agree to something that I am not even told about - and we put this kind of power in the hands of webmasters, some of whom get a kick out of infecting people like me with malware.

      No wonder all this shit happens.

      Now, I have been told that Brave hijacks copyrighted content and is unethical to use. I hold that forcing people to interact with ads, while hiding behind "hold harmless" clauses for things like insertions of Cryptolockers and their ilk, is also unethical, as is ramming megabytes of unwanted data down my pipe.

      When advertisers get too obnoxious, like a noisy party next door, there comes a time when something has to be done, and I can't simply "call the cops" on obnoxious ad content, but I can search out and install blocking technologies that others more knowledgeable than I have been able to make to counter these knothead coders.

      "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good." [KJV: I Thessalonians 5:21]
  • (Score: 2) by isostatic on Thursday December 07, @03:13PM (4 children)

    by isostatic (365) on Thursday December 07, @03:13PM (#606811) Journal

    Just checked through my running apps, not a single ad, and that's on canola iOS. Built in ones don't have ads (including the safari pages I have open - bbc, hackernews, sn, trekbbs, work jira). No ads on Spotify, or the two games (which I bought). The only one that comes close is google maps.

    If I want an app, I will buy it (Catan, TTR, SkyView). If it's free, they make their money from me buying their services (ihg, virgin Atlantic, slack, IRCCloud, Spotify) or selling me to others (google maps).

    • (Score: 2) by TheRaven on Thursday December 07, @05:15PM (2 children)

      by TheRaven (270) on Thursday December 07, @05:15PM (#606873) Journal
      I take it you don't use the Apple News app? It includes ads.
      sudo mod me up
      • (Score: 2) by isostatic on Friday December 08, @07:45PM (1 child)

        by isostatic (365) on Friday December 08, @07:45PM (#607367) Journal

        Nope, didn't realise it existed. I go to specific websites for news (typically bbc for day-to-day, and buy magazines like economist for more in depth)

        Advertisers pay about 50p to destroy your browsing experience. I'd rather pay. Same with TV. Ads cost me more than the site gets from selling my eyeballs.

        • (Score: 2) by TheRaven on Saturday December 09, @10:42AM

          by TheRaven (270) on Saturday December 09, @10:42AM (#607680) Journal
          You can buy subscriptions within the news app, and the version that it displays is typically lighter in ads than the web page version. It's also pretty good at recommending things outside of your bubble - I get a bunch of articles from right-leaning newspapers on topics that I'm interested in, for example.
          sudo mod me up
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 07, @05:57PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 07, @05:57PM (#606897)

      ^ same here, I just don't download garbageware that wants to spew ads / invade my privacy. Browser works great for most everything, and F-droid has a lot of good open source apps with sane permission requests!

  • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 07, @03:35PM (2 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 07, @03:35PM (#606821)

    Ads is just part of why using apps is bad for you. Another thing to worry about is them tracking you and building an evermore accurate profile of all things you. This data will be used to price everything you buy in the future, not just your insurance but your groceries, your fuel, your medical services, probably even your funeral one day.

    Think about your privacy.

    • (Score: 2, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 07, @07:39PM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 07, @07:39PM (#606960)

      "We have narrowed the parameters of this profile"
      "Excellent, what are the new findings"
      "We are not 95% sure he is one of these 10 gender-types!"

      • (Score: 2, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 07, @09:08PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 07, @09:08PM (#606991)

        Not quite.

        We show that easily accessible digital records of behavior, Facebook Likes, can be used to automatically and accurately predict a range of highly sensitive personal attributes including: sexual orientation, ethnicity, religious and political views, personality traits, intelligence, happiness, use of addictive substances, parental separation, age, and gender.

        -- []

        This study compares the accuracy of human and computer-based personality judgments, using a sample of 86,220 volunteers who completed a 100-item personality questionnaire. We show that (i) computer predictions based on a generic digital footprint (Facebook Likes) are more accurate (r = 0.56) than those made by the participants’ Facebook friends using a personality questionnaire (r = 0.49); (ii) computer models show higher interjudge agreement; and (iii) computer personality judgments have higher external validity when predicting life outcomes such as substance use, political attitudes, and physical health; for some outcomes, they even outperform the self-rated personality scores.

        -- []


  • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 07, @08:09PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 07, @08:09PM (#606973)

    After having solved all other problems, google pulls the plug on lock screen ads.

    That OS is a security hazard and runs java. And it is closed-source[1].

    [1] You cannot compile and install it onto the phone which makes it freedom-hating closed-source spyware. Take nobody's word. Check for yourself.