Samsung issues DMCA takedown for SABS (Simple Ad-blocker for Samsung)
If you are a Samsung fan, and are into ad-blockers and all, you’d have likely heard about AdHell. For starters, AdHell was (why was? we’ll come to that later) essentially an ad-blocker for Samsung smartphones, but what made it stand apart from others in its league was the fact that it also allowed users to disable packages and even app permissions.
So basically, you could use AdHell – for example – to disable unwanted apps (bloatware) forced on your device by your carrier. Cool, isn’t it? But how AdHell did all this? Well, it utilized Samsung’s KNOX security software SDK.
Now coming to why ‘AdHell was…,’ well that is because Samsung took the project down. There were said to be multiple reasons for this, primary among them being the AdHell developer worked for Samsung, and the company didn’t like what AdHell did, especially considering it was free and open source.
Call it the power of open source ecosystem, someone – a student who is yet to attend university – created a fork of AdHell 2 and gave birth to SABS, short for ‘Simple Ad-blocker for Samsung’.
The lad did some good work, evident from the fact that the application quickly gained popularity among tech savvy users. Deservingly, publications like Lifehacker and Gizmodo wrote dedicated stories on it. However sadly, with popularity came the attention of Samsung.
And SABS has now been taken down.
Yes, the South Korean tech giant issued a DMCA takedown for the project yesterday, to which XDA quickly complied, and closed the thread started by the developer and removed all links to the project’s GitHub repository as well as other related links.
Thread has been closed and links removed due to a DMCA take down request by Samsung.
Needless to say, the GitHub project itself has also been taken down. Shortly after this development, the SABS developer took to Reddit to offer a limited explanation of whatever happened. Unsurprisingly, he said he has no interest in contesting the takedown.
Of course, the takedown and closure of the project means there won’t be any further update for SABS, but you can continue using the existing app for as long as you feel it’s effectively doing what all it’s built to do. Here’s what the developer says:
I don’t think that it will stop working soon. Of course, there are a lot of bugs especially on Oreo and I have heard reports of some reboots happening on S9/+ devices. Domain list also would get outdated at some point.
There’s another Reddit thread where users are actively discussing what they are supposed to do now.
As for alternatives, interestingly, there exists an app called Disconnect Pro, which provides exactly same features, and is officially listed on Samsung’s Galaxy App store (some users have recently been facing issues finding the app on the store, but that’s a different problem). So the question that may come to your mind now is why Samsung is supporting Disconnect Pro, when the company is after similar apps like AdHell and SABS?
The answer is simple, Disconnect and Samsung are reportedly partners, and the Disconnect Pro app is paid, costing a whooping $25 per install. So anyone offering the same set of features to users for free is seemingly on Samsung’s radar.
However, if you are looking for someone to pick up from where SABS left, and offer another free and open source solution, well you seem to be in luck. The developer of SABS himself confirmed that AdHell 3 is already in works.
I think someone will eventually continue development. If someone comes forward and does that, please change the name of the app to distance me from it.
Edit: haha. Apparently there is already an Adhell 3.
Ohh…but keep in mind that Samsung might (and will likely) come after AdHell 3 as well.
DISCLAIMER: We don’t have any information on exactly why Samsung tookdown SABS. This news article is written based on known facts and user reports. In no way, we intend to encourage people to develop and use similar software/apps if it’s in violation of rules set out by Samsung.
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