Finally! No ads anymore on your iPhone.


Whether you are on Facebook, playing a game or using another application, you will always get bothered by advertisements on your iPhone. However, Apple has allowed a new ad block application into the iTunes App store, known as Been Choice. This app claims to block advertisements in mobile applications, and also in native mobile apps such as Facebook.

Been Choice offers a combination of a content blocker for Safari and a VPN service. Through the content blocker users can enable ad blockers to eliminate ads from Safari during web browsing sessions if iPhone users have iOS 9. When using the VPN service for the first time, you need to install a profile on your device. When the VPN is enabled, your traffic is then routed through Been Choice’s servers where it performs deep packet inspection on the content. After this, specific content can be removed  through pattern matching. This ability enables Been Choice to block advertisements in Facebook, Pinterest, Yahoo, New York Times apps and more. Blocking ads in all these applications could be very detrimental for many mobile application developers, because the primary way of how they make money is disrupted. Apple may do a favor to consumers by supporting this ad-blocking technology in iOS 9, however, this goes against Apple own interest since advertisements will also be blocked in their own news application. (Twitter is not blocked because they use end-to-end encryption. This makes it t impossible to block ad traffic without blocking non-ad traffic.) (Perez, 2015)

It seems that Been Choice is beneficial for consumers. But of course there is a flip side. This application hides a paid surveys operation, while promoting data privacy. Yoon, the co-founder, says that Been Choice offers users a choice between ad blocking and sharing data in order to earn rewards. This way, consumers understand the value of their data rather than blindly offering it up in exchange for targeted ads. This means that users will receive a compensation, when they agree to share their behavioral data with advertisers, publishers and app developers. For each day the VPN is enabled you’ll receive 1,000 points and you need  30,000 point (a whole month) to earn $20 (Perez, 2015).  It makes me wonder what they will and can do with these data since advertisements will not be shown anymore on consumer’s most important device. According to the their Privacy Policy, they will pull device info, device ID’s, content of your communications  and transactions (excluding financial and e-commerce applications), and of course information about you, what can be everything. This means, and they admitted, that your giving up your personal data even more than with traditional ads.

Thus, this app means to cater to thiose who don’t want ads anywhere, but on the other hand, they need to reach those who are willing to sell their data.

Do you trust this application? And are you willing to sell you data in exchange for no advertisements anymore on your mobile phone?

Perez, S (2015) Apple Approves An App That Blocks Ads In Native Apps, Including Apple News, http://techcrunch.com/2015/10/06/apple-approves-an-app-that-blocks-ads-in-native-apps-including-apple-news, 7 October 2015

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2 responses to “Finally! No ads anymore on your iPhone.”

  1. ruudschippers says :

    First of all, I would prefer to have advertisements on my phone instead of exchanging my personal data for having no advertisements on my smartphone.

    However, I would like to shed some light on the core functionality of the app, since I do not think Apple should have allowed this application into their App Store. A month ago, I was reading an article about the app ‘Peace’.
    Peace was an iOS 9 mobile ad blocking app, that was launched on September 16 (Arment, 2015). It has been reviewed as the most powerful mobile ad blocking app that allowed users to block nearly everything (Otto, 2015). Within a day after its launch, it became the number one paid app in the U.S. App store. While we would expect that the developer of the app would be pleasantly surprised, the opposite occurred. After two days, the developer, Marco Arment, pulled the app from the App Store. In a blog post, he explained that he withdrew the app from the App Store because the unexpected success did not ‘feel good’ to him. He explained that such an app benefits tons of people, but the downside is that it also hurts some people, including companies spending money on sponsored content. Therefore, he felt that they did not deserve it and decided to pull Peace from the App Store (Arment, 2015).

    To be perfectly honest, I do not even think that Marco Arment should have made this decision. In my opinion, I do not think that an app should be able to block every form of advertising, since companies spent money on that. Therefore, I believe that Apple should not allow these kind of apps to their App Store. Additionally, I think it’s quite dubious that an app such as Been Choice earns money on blocking advertisements that companies spent money on.

    References:

    Arment, M. (2015, September 16). Introducing Peace, my privacy-focused iOS 9 ad blocker [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://www.marco.org/2015/09/16/peace-content-blocker

    Otto, R. (2015, September 19). Ontwikkelaar trekt populaire iOS-adblocker Peace terug: ‘Voelt niet goed’ [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://www.iphoned.nl/nieuws/peace-adblocker-offline/

    Student number: 441698
    Name: Ruud Schippers

  2. amoghj says :

    I would definitely prefer having to see an ad every now and then than sell my data. And I personally think that we are over reacting to ads on internet. There are ad blocking softwares for almost all internet clients we use. Is it really such a big deal? We are taking the internet for granted, we use so many applications without paying a buck, viewing an ad should be regarded as a payment to the developers for providing us with the free service.

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