Marketing 2 min read

Google Updates Ads Policies to ban Stalkerware Technology

Lucien Fraud /

Lucien Fraud /

Stalkerware technology is on the rise. According to a recent Avast study, the use of online spying and stalking apps has increased by 51 percent during the lockdown between March and June.

Stalkerware can either be spyware or other forms of surveillance technology. It refers to the unethical tools that allow people to monitor other’s communication without their knowledge or consent.

This includes personal photos and videos, intercepting texts, emails, app communications, and eavesdropping on phone calls.

Abusive partners reportedly take advantage of stalkerware technology to target and control their victims. So, it’s not surprising that activists are calling for more legal protection around the software use.

Now, Google Ads is also updating its ad policies to ban spyware and other surveillance products on its platform.

The announcement on the advertising giant’s support page reads:

“In August 2020, the Google Ads Enabling Dishonest Behavior policy will be updated to clarify restrictions on advertising for spyware and surveillance technology.”

Here’s the breakdown of the announcement.

An Update to Ban Stalkerware Advertising on Google Platforms

The update prevents advertisers from promoting stalkerware tech. It includes products or services that enable people to “track or monitor another person or their activities without their authorization.”

Some items that belong in this category include:

  • Pieces of surveillance equipment such as dash cams, nanny cams, cameras, audio recorders.
  • GPS trackers marketed to spy or track someone without their knowledge.
  • Spyware or malware for monitoring phone calls, texts, and browsing history

Advertisers that currently promote these products have until August 11, 2020, when Google Ads will begin enforcing the policy. Also, violators will receive a warning at least seven days before Google potentially suspends the Ads account.

With that said, Google points out that surveillance device for private investigation services is not included in the ban. The same goes for products or services that help parents monitor their underage children.

Read More: Google Ads Tests Curbside Pickup Feature in Shopping

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