It’s no secret that while on the Internet, we are constantly tracked. Although advertisers and organizations claim that monitoring users help them understand their actions and interests to enhance their programs, many users find that monitoring is intrusive. Some users may also end up sharing more information about their browsing habits than they expected, perhaps by visiting some unsafe or untrusted websites.
While its commonly believed that most of the tracking online happens while browsing the Internet on our PCs, there are hundreds of Android apps out there that come with built-in trackers to not just store information about you but also share that information with potential third-party clients such as advertisers.
If you take privacy more seriously than the average user and want to stop device monitoring on your devices, try a new open-source app named Warden that claims to block trackers and loggers hidden inside apps. Warden is created by WhyOrean, a senior member of XDA who is notable for his work behind the popular, unofficial, open-source Google Play Store client Aurora. Using root access, Warden allows the user to deactivate all trackers and loggers detected within apps. It also features a “debloater” that supports scripting, based on profiles. The software supports version 5.0 of Android, and above.
The Warden Program Manager uses a centralized list of trackers and loggers provided by Exodus Privacy, a French ngo. It reads the dex (Dalvik Executable) files within each device installed on your phone to see whether any of the class names from the above list match a known tracker or logger. In this sense, loggers means “all tools that are used to log user activity on an device or logcat in general.” WhyOrean states that not all loggers are bad, and some can be used to log user activity for specific (legitimate) purposes. There are however a few “like ACRA, xLog” logging tools that are powerful tools that can “send user data to devs without user consent.”
In addition to offering an insight into heinous trackers, Warden comes with a “De-Bloater” and “Nuke it! “Mode which requires root access to both. While the De-Bloater allows users to deactivate, hide or uninstall fishy tracker apps, the Nuke it! Feature allows users to scan all device-installed apps and automatically deactivate all known tracker components (Activities, Services, Providers, and Receivers). Both “Nuke it!” and “De-Bloater! “Are currently considered experimental features, so be sure to visit the thread below to give the developer feedback if you have any problems or suggestions.