Ever wonder what ad networks your mobile apps are running? Today, Lookout, a company that offers security services for a number of smartphone platforms, is releasing a new, free Android app that aims to provide transparency into ad networks to help you understand what’s happening on your phone – from knowing what networks are on your device to understanding their capabilities.
As Lookout says, sometimes apps access info for reasons that are not so obvious. As a way to further ensure users’ privacy, Lookout’s Ad Network Detector app will show you what information the ad networks within the apps on your phone can access. For example, some ad networks will collect information from your phone for use in more targeted advertising marketing campaigns. This app just gives you insight into what information is being used.
Lookout explains that they are particularly watchful of ad networks that push out-of-app ads to the default Android notification bar, placing generically designed icons on the mobile desktop, and changing browser settings, like bookmarks or homepage.
To help users understand if they had one of these ad networks on their phone, a few weeks ago Lookout released an app called the Push Ad Detector. When the Push Ad Detector identified one of those six ad networks within an app on your phone, it listed the app that had integrated the ad network. It also explained what private information an ad network could access.
The Ad Detector was so popular that Lookout decided to take things a step further to include all ad network tracking. It scans the apps on your Android device for the presence of any of the 35 mainstream ad networks, including those that are capable of displaying out-of-app ads. Ad networks and exchanges that can be detected include Google’s AdMob, Burstly, GreyStripe, JumpTap, InMobi, Medialets, Millenial, MobClix, MoPub and others.