How does the Block Tracker feature in Jumbo Pro work?
First, let me provide some high-level information, before I share some more detailed answers below.
Your phone is likely transmitting data and personal information to third parties such as ad tech companies and data brokers without you even knowing it. These third parties get this information from “Trackers”, which are unique identifiers used to trace your steps inside your phone. “Trackers” are not just tracking the sites you visit or which apps you use; they can track when and how often you use a specific app, what you search for, and even your location, phone type, and battery level. Ad tech companies and data brokers can use this information to target you with advertisements or sell the info for others to monetize.
What is the Block Trackers feature inside Jumbo Pro?
Enabling the Block Trackers will prevent more than 400 major Trackers from following you as you browse the web and use your apps. This is a powerful way to limit your data footprint and to reduce the information that third parties have on you.
OK, how does this work?
As you browse the web or use your apps, Jumbo checks to make sure that what your phone is trying to access isn’t on our list of trackers. If it is, that access is blocked, so the third parties never know a request was made, and they don’t get any of your data.
How do you know which ones to block?
Our engineering team has compiled a collection of trackers, analytics, and malware servers. We continuously add to this list to include more trackers as they enter the news or we learn about them any other way. It's part of our ongoing research to stay on top of threats to your privacy and security.
Are you monitoring my web traffic?
No. We capture broad analytics if the user has not explicitly opted out of this. The information captured is not related to any specific domains, trackers, etc. The info can basically tell us if a user enabled the Block Tracker feature to give us a sense of how popular the feature is.
We log the count of requests blocked per domain in order to generate the report you see in the app (e.g. "300 trackers blocked last week"). This information is removed from your device every 14 days. Again, that is stored on your device so nothing is being transmitted to any servers.
Wait, I thought this was a VPN. I was asked to authorize a VPN configuration, and I see a VPN logo.
Like you noticed, this is not a full VPN in the sense we are not creating a Virtual Private Network.
Both iOS and Android have given developers a tool to interact with network traffic. The intended use of that tool was to implement VPNs. As we build tools to protect your privacy, we also have to think differently about ways of implementing functionality without compromising on security. So we are able to use this type of “configuration” that allows Jumbo to block some network traffic directly on your device, without routing your traffic through a remote server which would pose a security risk.
We may one day implement a full VPN if we can build a solution that doesn’t compromise on your privacy.