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Old 03-29-2016, 12:05 AM   #1
Doppleganger
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App hacking ethics

So, boys and girls. I've got a quandary.

I have a lovely app that features as my Live Background on my smartphone. The problem is it's also loaded to the brim with obnoxious Google ads. The type where a new ad that must be closed pops up every 15 seconds. You basically have to reboot the phone to get it to stop, and even then it's not a guarantee.

It brings back haunting memories of when Last Measure was roaming the web and would scream at parents that the poor dial-up user was looking at porn.

Usually, apps have 'free' or 'paid' versions in the GooglePlay store that allow you to pay to have the ads go away. However, some developers have eschewed this because they believe (and have verified) that paid apps tend to elicit fewer downloads than ad-infested ones. Once you can't live without the app, Google will forever spam your phone with ads and you won't remove the app due to the acquired dependence.

This particular app has no paid option. I can't simply use money to make it go away.

So, I have the option of using a hacking program to remove most of the ads. Developers hate this and militantly prosecute those who use them.

Am I justified in removing the ads, then? I've pretty much made up my mind, but I'm curious what others think.
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Old 03-29-2016, 12:53 AM   #2
deoxys
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On the one hand, you're not entitled to use the app that anyone has built (unless you've purchased it). They built it the way they did, ads and all, and circumventing that would be going against how they intended its use.

However, on the other hand, you've got what would otherwise be a very nice app if it weren't for intrusive behavior, and they aren't offering a workaround, such as a paid version.

It's really the fault of the developers for not including a secondary premium option, and to have intrusive advertising. Personally for me, the second an ad starts doing something like push notifications as advertisements, I uninstall it and leave a bad score and tell them to sod off, which luckily has only happened once to me.

It's a tough nut to crack because it can easily be justified to hack the app for their slimy practices, but at the same time you're not exactly entitled to re-configuring their intent. For what it's worth, ethical or not, I'd probably hack it as well, considering what their app does isn't exactly ethical, either.
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