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Apple abruptly withdraws ad blocking app citing privacy concerns

12-October-2015
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Apple abruptly withdraws ad blocking app citing privacy concerns

Apple had launched an app that claims to block advertisements not only in mobile applications, but also in native mobile apps, including Facebook and even Apple’s own News application. This app had been creating ripples over the internet all last week for disrupting the digital media and advertising industry.

In a recent development, citing privacy concerns, Apple has abruptly expelled from its store ad blockers that eliminate in-app ads.

The tech giant Apple has removed the popular ad blocker app Been Choice on its App Store. Apple has reportedly told the app's developers that its feature violates terms and conditions issued by the company.

Been Choice gave users the choice of blocking ads in exchange for sharing data to earn rewards. To block ads in native apps, Been Choice uses a VPN service.

While it directly affects web publishers that use ad revenue to pay for content, market reports suggest that it would have also impacted ad serving companies that use data and technology to display ads on websites.

Early September, Apple caused quite a few heads to turn in the digital advertising industry when it announced that the new iOS 9 update would allow users to install ad blocking extensions from the app store to enjoy an ad free mobile browsing experience on Safari. However, this would not be a default setting.

Read: Should digital marketers be wary of Apple's new ad blocker?

Speculations were rife about the content blocker, Been Choice, being an extension of the previous month’s announcement.

It is, however, unclear if Apple accidentally approved the app. Been Choice claims it can block ads almost anywhere, including apps like Pinterest, Pandora, Yahoo, The New York Times, and Apple News. It also promises to block sponsored content and pre-roll videos in apps like CNN or CNBC, suggest market reports.

According to Been Choice’s privacy policy, it might tap into data traffic to collect information about your device, carrier, and network; data about which apps you use; and “information about you.” Worryingly, it can also claim “content of your communications and transactions.”

It’s not completely clear to users that Been Choice can record this information.

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