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Google will soon stop VPN apps blocking ads on Android

Google will soon clamp down on VPN apps that block ads on the Android platform.

The tech giant, which still earns most of its vast revenue from advertising, will prohibit VPN apps on the Google Play Store from actively interfering with ads from November 1.

Google updated its Google Play policy last month, setting down strict stipulations for VPN apps. This includes a rule that such apps can’t “manipulate ads that can impact apps monetization.”

Another stipulation is that “Only apps that use the VPNService and have VPN as their core functionality can create a secure device-level tunnel to a remote server”.

These measures appear designed to secure user data with such VPN services, as well as to prevent ad fraud. As part of the new terms and conditions, VPN developers must encrypt data across the whole process.

However, as The Register reports, some developers aren’t too happy with Google’s new stipulations, feeling that it’s too sweeping with its requirements. Older versions of Blokada and Jumbo could be ruled out based on the new rules.

Blokada’s developers also speculate that the likes of privacy-focused web search app DuckDuckGo could be a casualty of Google’s new rules, though DuckDuckGo’s developer itself believes that it will be alright.

Apple applies a similar set of VPN-focused rules for iOS, though interestingly it doesn’t specifically rule out interfering with ads.

Around this time last year, Google announced that it was offering its own VPN service to subscribers of its 2 TB and higher Google One plans in the UK and other countries after an initial 2020 rollout in the US.

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