Google has banned the Disconnect Android app from the Google Play app store. Disconnect is an app available for iOS, Android, and PCs which is touted as a privacy protection tool that prevents apps and websites from collecting excessive amounts of your personal data.
Google stated that it violates their policy which prohibits interference with other apps. This prohibition of interference is a perfectly understandable (and absolutely necessary) policy.
The cofounder of the app, Casey Oppenheim said that he thinks Google categorized Disconnect Android as an ad blocker. He claims it is not a classic ad blocker, and that it was carefully designed to avoid the violation of Google policy.
‘Disconnect focuses on protecting people from invisible tracking and sources of malware, and all too often these threats come in the form of advertising.
… The fact is, we are not opposed to advertising and think advertising plays a critical role in the Internet economy. But we are 100% opposed to advertising that invisibly tracks people and compromises their security.’
In this day and age where mobile devices are designed to be on all the time, many apps collect data pertaining to smartphone users’ location, and who knows what else.
Modern mobile technology usually offer little to no control over what data apps collect, except the ability to turn off location-based services. It appears that the Disconnect app is trying to bring back the privacy controls that computer users had before smartphone technology took off.
There Is A Right And Wrong Way To Do Things – Maybe Disconnect Used The Wrong Approach?
Maybe the Disconnect Android app just needs to be redesigned to comply with Google Policy. Interference with other apps is unacceptable. However, Disconnect’s effort to protect user privacy is understandable.
Apart from that, ad blocking is a different story. Some advertisements and websites are highly offensive, and therefore deserve to be blocked. However, advertisements in general are the source of revenue for most apps and websites.
Blocking them reduces their income, and limits their ability to maintain their apps. Without advertisements, free websites and apps couldn’t exist. You would have to pay for everything up front.
Did Google have an ulterior motive for removing the app? Or were they just protecting the integrity of the Android ecosystem?
Comments are always welcome!
Source: Business Insider.