Tech giant Google has announced that it will ban ads that promote stalkerware, spyware, and other forms of surveillance technology that can be used to track other persons without their specific consent.
The change was announced this week as part of an upcoming update to Google Ads policies, set to enter into effect next month, on August 11, 2020.
Stalkerware use has skyrocketed over the last decade due to the proliferation of mobile smartphones.
Examples of products and services that advertisers won’t be able to promote via Google Ads anymore include:
Spyware and technology used for intimate partner surveillance including but not limited to spyware/malware that can be used to monitor texts, phone calls, or browsing history;
GPS trackers specifically marketed to spy or track someone without their consent;
Promotion of surveillance equipment (cameras, audio recorders, dash cams, nanny cams) marketed with the express purpose of spying.
Offenders who promote stalkerware will receive a seven-day warning, after which they’ll be banned if they don’t remove the offending ads.
Stalkerware is a form of malware that is part of the larger spyware class.
It refers to spyware apps specifically designed for couples that abusive partners install on the devices of their loved ones without their knowledge or consent — hence why stalkerware is also sometimes referred to as spouseware.