Google’s measure that banned ads in search results that offered spying applications and user data collection was officially implemented from this Tuesday (11). In theory, so-called “stalkerware”, aimed especially at Android smartphones, should disappear from the ads displayed on search pages.
However, in a simple test, the site TechCrunch found at least seven companies that offer spy apps and should not appear as advertisers. The names include software like FlexiSpy, mSpy, WebWatcher and KidsGuard — all capable of collecting data from users and even spying on relatives or friends, if used for these purposes. In some more explicit cases, the description of advertising itself suggests these illegal practices.
In response, Google stated that one of these applications was banned from the search engine shortly thereafter and that not all measures are effective immediately. Although well intentioned, the company’s action received criticism for not being very transparent about its operation and for being able to restrict even useful industry apps, such as parental control services.