Blokada is a program, which sets itself up as a VPN. Think of a VPN like a street your data passes through before entering the highway of the Internet. Blokada looks for traffic to and from addresses related to advertising and tracking in general. When it finds such, it tells Android that this address is not available. Google does not include Blokada into their PlayStore, so it is available from https://blokada.org/. It is easy to install and tells blocked tracking sites right away.
I enabled logging to reveal more about its inner workings. For the time from the morning of 13th of June to the afternoon of the 22nd , Blokada prevented 10.810 tracking attempts. After playing with the command line a bit – the Top 10 trackers were:
grep BLOCKED blokada.log | cut --delimiter=\ -f18 | sort | uniq -c | sort -rn | head -n10
The first and sixth most blocked sites came from Facebook, followed by Alphabet/Google coming on 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 7th place. Crashalytics collects data to “understand your users” and Urbanairship claims to work in a similar way. And then there is my phone vendor Oneplus “phoning” home, although I disabled their telemetry on the phone.
This report has several caveats and limitations: I cannot find out where the tracking attempt originated from. Was it the browser loading a webpage or was it an app? I didn’t open the OnePlus website 266 times. The phone was not active around the clock and I disabled Blokada to download podcasts. I could not find documentation for Blokada log file and wonder if all BLOCKED entries mean just that. And finally: Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes? – Who watches the watchmen?
The author wrote this post during rainy weather in the Midsummer break of 2019 and was not compensated for it.