Most of the VPNs you know are used to secure the connection to protect personal data, or to get another IP address to unblock geo-restricted content. But there are also VPNs whose function is to block ads.
However, it seems that this type of VPN will soon be banned on the Google Play Store. The firm is cleaning up its application store and among the new rules that will apply from 1er November, there is a set of new VPN restrictions.
New rules for Android VPNs
“Only apps that use VPNService and whose core functionality is VPN can create a secure device-level tunnel to a remote server”indicates the Mountain View firm in a support page.
The firm mentions a few exceptions, such as parental control applications, antivirus programs, or telephone operator apps that provide connectivity functions. It also indicates that VPNService cannot be used for:
- Collect personal and sensitive user data without visible disclosure or consent.
- Redirect or manipulate user traffic from other apps on a device for monetization purposes (for example, redirect ad traffic to a different country than the user).
- Manipulate advertisements that may impact app monetization.
We will know more about the impact of these changes in November. But there is every reason to believe that Google intends to crack down on VPN apps whose purpose is to block ads on other apps.
Blokada and DuckDuckGo would not be impacted
Moreover, the developer of one of these applications, Blokada, has already reacted. Reda Labdaoui, a moderator of the company forum, wrote: “One of the key policy changes is to the VPN service which will go into effect on November 1, 2022: Google claims to be cracking down on apps that use the VPN service to track user data or redirect user traffic to gain revenue. money from advertisements. However, these policy changes also apply to apps that use the service to filter traffic locally on the device. Apps such as Blokada v5 and Duck Duck Go. Specifically, the policy does not allow “manipulation of ads that may impact app monetization.” »
He nevertheless assured that version 6 of Blokada should not be affected by the changes that Google will deploy. Indeed, according to Labdaoui’s explanations, Blokada V6 uses cloud filtering and no longer requires a local VPN. Thus, its new mechanism will not violate Google’s new rules, and provides other benefits, such as reducing the impact on battery life and device performance.
And like Blokada, DuckDuckGo, is currently confident. “We don’t think we will be impacted by the policy, but our team is continuing to review it”said the latter, quoted by The Register.
Other changes you will like
Google’s changes to the Play Store aren’t just about VPNs. The firm will also impose new rules regarding full-screen ads that interrupt user activity.
And Google also intends to crack down on imitations. “We don’t allow apps that mislead users by impersonating someone else (e.g., another developer, company, entity) or another app”says Google.
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