Google will ban ads promoting stalkerware, spyware, and other forms of surveillance technology that can be used to track people without their consent. The tech giant announced the change this week as part of an upcoming update to its policies. Google Ads, which will enter into force on 11 August 2020.
With this change that Google plans to make, advertisers will no longer be able to promote certain categories of products and services. Among those that will not be able to be promoted via Google Ads are the following:
- Spyware and technology used to closely monitor individuals, including spyware and malware which can be used to track phone calls, messages or browsing history.
- Detectors GPS available on the market with the specific purpose of tracking or even spying on individuals without their knowledge and consent.
- Monitoring equipment, such as cameras and audio recorders, available on the market to serve purposes espionage.
Google said private services Research or products designed to allow parents to monitor or locate their minor children will not be prohibited under this new policy, so they will still be allowed to advertise on its platform. In addition, the company said that those who violate its new policy and continue to promote stalkerware, will receive a seven-day warning, after which they will be banned if they do not remove these offensive ads.
Google's move to ban stalkerware ads comes after the industry antivirus combined to add stalkerware detection to virus scanners. After improving their products, antivirus companies founded it Coalition Against Stalkerware in November 2019, which was the first global initiative of its kind, created to raise public awareness of the growing threatening of stalkerware.
What is stalkerware?
Stalkerware is a type of malware that is part of the larger spyware category. This term refers to spyware applications designed specifically for couples in order to install them on the devices of their loved ones without their knowledge or consent. The use of Stalkerware has greatly increased in the last decade due to their proliferation smartphone, as it allows jealous partners to constantly monitor their partner by monitoring their phone. In addition, the easy availability of stalkerware products in official app stores has increased the availability of these products and their impact on millions of users.
While Google, the Apple, antivirus companies and the FTC have removed some of these applications, they are still popular and even more so than ever. According to statistics compiled by Kaspersky, the number of users who had installed applications such as stalkerware on Android Their devices increased from 40.386 devices detected in 2018 to more than 67.500 in 2019. According to AV-Comparatives and Electronic Frontier Foundation antivirus testing laboratories, the detection rates for stalkerware applications on Android devices and Windows improved slowly as security suppliers try to address the growing risk.
By limiting the appearance of stalkerware products on its advertising platform, Google aspires to control the promotion and popularity of these malicious applications.