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back to article Ad-titan Google blocks Adblock Plus in Android security tweak

The maker of Adblock Plus is upset its users must jump through hoops to get its advert-banishing app working on devices running Android - the mobile OS made by advertising giant Google. The complaint follows moves by Google that made it more difficult for Google Chrome users to use Adblock Plus as a browser extension. The …

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Re: Less than 8 steps to root an android phone

Odd, most Android devices have a "one touch" rooting utility out there somewhere and I don't quite see what unlocking the bootloader has to do with it.

Mine's rooted (connect to PC with USB lead, run utility, done) with the bootloader untouched.

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Good move by google.. its not JUST ad blockers

I agree with their decision, I would like to be able to set a proxy, but would want ME to have to do it... or at the very least have a BIG alert asking me for permission before allowing the change...

I would also like the ability to revoke permissions for apps, and if it breaks the app, so be it...

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FAIL

What did you expect to happen?

How many of you really thought that Google released a free OS just to be nice?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: What did you expect to happen?

People who still think that "FREE" means what it says, not what the small print says after the *.

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Re: What did you expect to happen?

>Google released a free OS just to be nice?

(FB and many others with freebies as well)

It is largely free but not to the real customers the advertisers. Users are the product with these free services not the customer.

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Re: What did you expect to happen?

>How many of you really thought that Google released a free OS just to be nice?

Funny I thought they released it for free because they weren't responsible for developing a good portion of it. One could reasonably argue without open source software Google would be a very different company if they would exist at all.

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Re: What did you expect to happen?

Don't complain, just uninstall the Gurgle ad vector and use Firefox with ads blocked.

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h3
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Now Opera is switching to Wbkit we should be able to use it on that and hence have a reasonable alternative to Firefox.

Last time I tried Adblock Plus on Opera (Within the last few weeks it worked pretty well.)

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Stop

Adding *another* permission is a pointless exercise - the vast majority of users install apps from the Market without even looking at the list of permissions so adding yet another permission would not protect users in the way the maker of Ad Block is suggesting. The hole was a major security hole - and really - if you want to be able to run something like Ad Block it should not just work out of the box - people seem all to quick to forget that the web is largely free because it is sponsored by advertising, remove the advertising and we would all have to pay. I don't have a problem with more technical users blocking ad's system wide - but this definitely should not be something anyone can do just from downloading an app. Incidentally - here http://code.google.com/p/android/issues/detail?id=40506 is the thread where this was talked about.

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That's precisely the point. If you have to move behind paywalls, fine. At least we know ahead of time the price of the service. Treat people more like clients and less like cattle.

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Joke

But, clients ARE cattle: they get prodded, led around, feed what the sales engineer wants, they eat, they breath, they spew flatch, the burp, and they become the meal for the company taking them out to pasture. Some are "serviced" ("serviced", as in the pre-70's term, as in impregnating the animal) as test beds and alternative market mouths, and some are udderly milked to the bone.

Hahahaha, I dare say customers ARE cattle. They just THINK they are in control.

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Raspberry Pi Adblock

I've been using my Raspberry Pi as an adblocker running Privoxy - only works on my home network but it's still handy for the various ios / android devices I own.

http://kimondo.co.uk/raspberry-pi-as-an-adblock-server-for-ipad-iphone-android-and-anything-else-on-your-network/

I did get a bit of a backlash from Reddit from techhie bloggers who run ads on their sites though.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Why don't they just...

Why don't google just buy AdBlock plus and integrate it into Android?

Erm because they are an advertising company?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Why don't they just...

Astonishing that some think Google runs some sort of charity with only the user's best interests at heart.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Why don't they just...

I think we have too many children around here these days.

Some of us have grown up and come to the understanding that "I want everything that everyone else's got and I want it now and I want it without paying for it[1]" results only in your having fuck all and feeling very pissed off about it.

[1] Yes, looking at the ads is "paying for it"....

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Big Brother

So...?

Does this actually affect anyone who knows about computers & stuff, like the people who read El Reg? It's an eight step workaround - that's all - and if it's too difficult for the masses to comprehend then they get to look at adverts, as they do when they're watching the mindless drivel on TV. Not our problem.

I'm sure most of us round here won't be that troubled by a bit of minor tinkering.

Are Google within their rights? That's up to them. Will I "carry on up the Android"? That's up to me. And no, Mr Fanboi, I don't care what you decide is right for you - we're different, see?

While I'm ranting, I'll let you into the best way I've found to get rid of in-app adverts. Simply pay for the app ... no ads, and a warm fuzzy feeling that you're not such a freeloading git after all.

Now where's my beer ....

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Big Brother

Security - a good excuse for governments and Google

Just last December they started curating Chrome extensions and blocking third party installs under the flag of security as well.

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/12/23/google_bans_auto_install_chrome_extensions/

Sure, security is nice, but was this local proxies thing ever a problem? I can't find any examples of apps using it for nefarious purposes, only for actually useful things.

Also, doesn't it show up in the app permissions?

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Re: Security - a good excuse for governments and Google

It is HIGHLY possible and probably VERY likely that a large number of governments and well-funded state projects use ads as vectors to keep tabs on people. What better way than overt covert app install? Just use the 1-pixel thingies, the self-spawning and reanimating from the dead cookies do the work. But, since some government projects probablly user the same TOR and other ratsnest havens of spamware, malware, and other bots, they must be getting ensared with the non-government criminal and government criminal detritus. Hence, their effectiveness at penetrating and peripherally ensnaring their targets is being hampered.

Just a half-baked idea/thought...

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Re: Security - a good excuse for governments and Google

YES it was a problem, it is a way to sniff out data, what if you use your mobile to do internet banking? with a proxy app like this they could sniff out your login details and then empty your bank account...

The one thing we do need is the ability to refuse permissions after install, or even install while refusing some permissions... I.E. I want Facebook, BUT I might not want it to be able to access my contacts, but the app asks for that

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Malicious apps / Security?

"because malicious programs can use it to intercept users' data and endanger their privacy"

Google, don't make me laugh. YOUR mobile phone platform is the one where where reading if the phone is in the course of making a call also blabs phone numbers.

In fact - to quote your own help text (Android 2.3.6 or something): "READ PHONE STATE AND IDENTITY Allows the application to access the phone features of the device. An application with this permission can determine the phone number and serial number of this phone, whether a call is active, the number that call is connected to and the like."

So for a video or music application to keep an eye on the phone status so it can shut up and get out of the way when a call is taking place, you are by design quite willing to leak the phone's serial number and the numbers of both myself and the person I'm talking too.

Plus my older phone defaulted to broadcasting my WiFi password to Google "for the purposes of backup". Plus two of my Android phones require me to consent to anonymous tracking before I can make use of GPS functionality (with, as I pointed out in the past, no clue as to what data is being sent, how many Kb, and who to; I have none of that information and no choice to opt out yet I am expected to consent to this before I can use a specific advertised functionity of my phones?). Finally, the permissions is accept ALL or NONE. Without rooting the device, the app programmer defines the permissions, the end user cannot fine-tune this.

So with all of that in mind:

F**K your pathetic excuses of "security". The Android security model is appalling. We would probably be outraged if we had the faintest ideas of the stuff our phones habitually leak, only the system is tied up in such a way that we probably won't ever really know. You make loads of money off of advertising, this is specifically blocking an advertisement blocker. We are not fooled.

[whoa, Daily Mail rant much? ;-) ]

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Indirecting through a third party server

Does this mean OperaMini (does OperaMobile have a similar "fast mode"?) is blocked as well?

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Turbo Mode

For versions of Opera other than Mini, the proxy service is available as "Turbo Mode": recommended for use on low-speed networks. Desktop installations can find an icon on the lower left (looks like a speedometer) that will let you toggle Turbo Mode, and it will recommend it if it detects a slow network. Opera Mobile keeps Turbo Mode tucked in the settings and allows for the ability to be kept on, kept off, or toggled on whenever one isn't in a WiFi zone.

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If only it was that simple

Even following the set up as advised still gives you no end of problems.

On 4.1.2 and 4.2.2 even when correctly set up you get no end of time outs, proxy errors and general malfunctions.

It didn't use to be like that. I'd be happy doing whatever set up so long as the end result worked and allowed me to have a serviceable phone and tablet.

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Android Firefox then?

Adblock plugin works with out changes under Firefox's android version. Chrome is always going to have a problem with plugins like adblock and noscripts on the windows and android, as google don't want them to get in the way of their ad's.

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Pint

no one is asking...

How is adblock plus making its money? Adverts? Surely not... donations? I don't see anything on their site. So what then? Here's to hoping they're not selling my data, lest they be a pot calling the kettle black.

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Re: no one is asking...

Open source, community driven.

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I don't actually have a problem with this...

It's pretty simple to me:

We tend to think of Google as being a search company or a mapping company or a phone OS company (or even a phone / tablet manufacturer, with the Nexus line), but they aren't - they're an advertising company. The only reason they provide all of these free goodies is so they can place lots of revenue-earning ads in front of us.

If their "price" for selling me a great phone (Nexus 4) and tablet (Nexus 7) at excellent prices, which both run a great OS (Jelly Bean 4.2.2) with a great "Personal Assistant" function (Google Now) and "search" and free mapping / navigation that really work, is that they place targeted ads in front of me when I search / navigate / whatever, I can live with that bargain.

The obvious corollary is that if we all block the ads, Google will get insufficient revenue to continue to support the Android platform, and good luck getting products of similar quality and functionality out of an open-source equivalent. How many "normal" Android users (I'm not talking about the "geeks") are "excited" about Ubuntu for phones and tablets, and will be dropping Android to go Ubuntu? No? I thought not.

If the alternative to ad-funded Android is iOS (with Siri and Apple Maps!) or Windows Phone (with what, exactly?), I'll take Google's ads, thanks!

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Re: I don't actually have a problem with this...

Oh yes - and I am actually happy to PAY for Apps and games (what a novel concept!) that do what I want, which sorts out a lot of the more obnoxious pop-up ads etc. I'm happy to click-through ads on Apps that I'm trialling, or which are just a bit of fluff for occasional entertainment.

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Holmes

A question of ownership

The big issue these days is ownership of the OS. Be it Google, Apple or Microsoft. They all have their own interests and polices and their common goal is to separate us from our money in one way or another. It is old news that the best way to extort money from your customers is to set up a monopoly of some sort. As it is not legal to monopolize the market itself, (as IBM had to learn the hard way), they try to establish vertical monopolies by ownership of the OS and by controlling what software can be installed. This is the driving force behind the App shops. And it does not end here. The next step would be to control the installed media, too. You want to read a book? You want to listen to music? Only one shop to buy from? You don't like the price? Too bad, isn't it?

To be fair, Google seems to be the least extortionist of the big software vendors. They still allow you to install 3rd party software. Another hope is Canonical, but they might just still not be there. Their App store sure is, however.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: A question of ownership

I trust Google more than Canonical, Google is fairly open at what it does... Canonical suddenly start showing ads for searching on YOUR machine? I think not...

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Anonymous Coward

Does this really matter?

Maybe in four years time when 50% or more of the Android users out there will be running version 4.1.2 or higher it will be a problem, but when the lions share of Android handsets are on pre Ice Cream Sandwich this isn't really an issue.

The only people who seem to use the latest Android versions are those who like to tinker and are using custom ROMs so no doubt they'll find their own way around it, so they can continue playing games they downloaded for free which should be funded by ads without ads.

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Holmes

Up vote for the "No sh*t sherlock" type posts

It may not be that nice for makers or users of ad-blocking software, they may even be singling out one of the most popular products in this field, but as the title of the article reminds us, Google is in the business of ads therefore adblocking is their nemesis, they have considerable resources and many ways to exert them so why is everyone so horrified when the proverbial bear sh*ts in the woods?

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Facepalm

I may be being incredibly naïve, but ...

I really don't understand how or why advertising pays so much. Are there really a significant number of people who are so stupid and so shallow that they allow their purchasing decisions to be influenced by advertising?

What really makes wonder whether I should be laughing or crying, though, is that the "targeted" adverts I see on the web are predominantly for things I thought about buying a month or two ago, and I've since either bought one or decided not to buy, and I've moved on. These ads are *never* going to work on me -- and that should be obvious even to even the smallest-minded parasite of an advertiser -- so what's the point.

The way to get rid of advertising is to ensure that nobody ever buys anything that's been advertised.

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Re: I may be being incredibly naïve, but ...

Trouble is, look at spam (which is ad-bombing cranked Up to Eleven). The cost to deploy even a bazillion ads is so low that the return from JUST ONE HIT usually pays for ALL of it, meaning all the others are pure profit. And given that there's gonna be SOME sucker SOMEwhere (thus nullifying the "everyone block them" angle since JUST ONE is needed), the odds of a return are in the advertiser's favor.

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