VPN and Ad Blocker: What to be known
- Sensor Tower, a data analytics company, has been using an assortment of free VPNs and ad-blocking apps to collect user data.
- The identified apps have more than 35 million downloads in total.
- Both Google and Apple have removed some of these apps from their app stores since the revelations.
Using VPN and ad blocker is a pretty standard part of using the internet. Some people want privacy while they browse, and ad blockers can be a great way for you to make sure that you would end up making the most of the content that you are looking into without having to worry all that much about the constant barrage of ads that you often end up having to deal with.
However, the fact of the matter is that a lot of the VPN and ad blocker that you are using might be doing something rather insidious without you even realizing it. A big example of this can be seen with about twenty VPNs and ad blockers that are available on multiple platforms and are all owned by a company by the name of Sensor Tower.
According to BuzzFeed investigation, these apps have been downloaded tens of millions of times, and the truth concerning aspect of this is that you might have to deal with them harvesting your data without informing you that something like this is happening. Tech companies often harvest your data but they are required to inform you before doing so, so what Sensor Tower has been doing it at the very least a major policy violation for app stores if not being downright illegal in a really big way.
Luna VPN, for example, shows a notification that offers the ability to block ads on YouTube if a user adds the Adblock extension, another SensorTower product. This kick-starts a process that results in a root certificate installation.