Google has recently announced its latest advertising policy update. As per the update, it has banned the so-called “stalkerware” apps and invasive programs from advertising on Google, starting from August 11.
These “stalkerware” apps include a particular class of software that is connected with abusive partners who stalk the movements and activities of significant others. In their policy update, Google will now prohibit any spyware and technology that could be used for “intimate partner surveillance”.
The Internet giant revealed that “the Google Ads Enabling Dishonest Behavior Policy” will be updated and it would explain the restrictions on advertising for spyware and surveillance technology.
Google’s “blanket ban” on stalkware apps on Play Store
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Google has already taken steps to restrict ads that may pop up, based on search terms that an abuser might use, but some still slip the restrictions. Also, it does not allow such apps on the Play Store and removes batches of them at select intervals, once they are identified and flagged.
The Search Engine giant will not allow any text, call, and GPS tracking apps as well as anything advertised to stalk someone without their consent. This is as per list shared by them, in their policy update, and shockingly this list does not include any software, hardware like cameras, and audio recorders that can be identified as spying devices.
In case of violation against these norms, these individuals will have their accounts suspended after a seven-day warning initiated to them, before their suspension.
The exception to this ban includes apps and services aimed at helping private investigation services and helicopter parents who would want to monitor their underage children.
“Coalition against Software”, a group formed in 2019 to protect and prevent cyber-stalking
A “Coalition against Software” was formed by groups like Electric Frontier Foundation and NortonLifeLock, in 2019. This website was formed to help victims and arm themselves with educational material and safety resources.
Also, as per the NortonLifeLock study published in early 2020, around 46 percent of Americans have admitted to cyber-stalking their partner or ex in some form. Also, it was revealed that men were more prone to cyber-stalking their partners through these apps. Abusive husbands have been known to use spyware to track their wives, who are the victims of domestic violence.