Google has removed AdNauseam, an anti-tracking browser extension, from the Chrome Web Store. This is slightly different from your regular ad blocker extension, so read on to find out more.
AdNauseam is a browser extension that uses “obfuscate” as their strategy. In simple words the extension wants to make the data useless to the companies.
AdNauseam blocks advertisements so that you don’t see them on webpages that you visit. However, it goes one step further and automatically clicks on each of those ads in the background, on behalf of you. When more and more users “click” ads like this, the data that the tracking companies receive becomes technically useless. It does not say anything about the set of users who clicked those advertisements. Well, except that they all have AdNauseam installed on their browsers.
Google removed AdNauseam recently from the Web Store and sent them a standard response:
Your item did not comply with the following section of our policy: An extension should have a single purpose that is clear to users. Do not create an extension that requires users to accept bundles of unrelated functionality, such as an email notifier and a news headline aggregator.
As the online advertisement leader, it is understandable why Google is upset over an extension like this.
AdNauseam has made the extension available via their Github page. You can find more details on their website here.
What is the best strategy to stop companies from tracking you? Do you consider this type of extensions in the same category of ad blockers?
To me, this is kind of online activism or protest, than a software. What is your opinion?