Google has removed all ad blocking apps from the Google Play Store for Android effectively removing the ability to block ads on the mobile operating system.
Major ad-blocking apps like AdAway, Adblock Plus, Adfree, Adblocker have received letters saying that their apps were violating section 4.4 of the Play Store Developer Distribution Agreement, and that they would be removed from the Play Store.
4.4 Prohibited Actions. You agree that you will not engage in any activity with the Market, including the development or distribution of Products, that interferes with, disrupts, damages, or accesses in an unauthorized manner the devices, servers, networks, or other properties or services of any third party including, but not limited to, Android users, Google or any mobile network operator. You may not use customer information obtained from the Market to sell or distribute Products outside of the Market.
Most notable of the apps to be removed is the Ad Block Plus app which has been downloaded over 200 million times. Effectively filtering all of your internet traffic it made sure that not only did you not see ads on YouTube and Facebook but it also removed social network buttons from websites which would then potentially collect your personal data.
Co-founder of AdBlock Plus Till Faida argues that while advertising is necessary, the complete removal of choice directly contradicts what Google’s Android operating system is all about.
“By unilaterally removing these apps, Google is stepping all over the checks and balances that make the Internet democratic. People should be really alarmed by this move.”
“I realise that advertising revenue is important to Google, but understand that Adblock Plus does not automatically block all ads; we simply allow users the choice whether to block ads or whitelist them. We even encourage advertising that is done appropriately and conforms to an Acceptable Ads policy.”
Although you might not be happy about Google removing these apps you can always get them from other sources. AdAway is already available on F-Droid. Other ad-blocking apps should be available to download soon from sites like XDA Developers