For a long time I have considered removing the free flavor of Privacy Browser. I originally created it because I assumed that some people would like to try out the features of Privacy Browser before making a purchase. And some people have used it in that way. But, over time, I have become increasingly uncomfortable including Google’s ad library in the free flavor, which includes a large amount of tracking code.
The motivation behind the timing of the decision is that Google (again) changed the extra permissions added to the app by their ad library, including android.permission.RECEIVE_BOOT_COMPLETED. I find this permission to be particularly concerning, because it can allow the library to track you from the moment you turn on your phone, even if you never open the app.
For those who might be interested, the free flavor never generated that much revenue, partially because I disabled all the tracking that Google allowed me to (Google added options to disable some of the tracking as a result of the GDPR). Over the past six years the ads only made a total of $200.
I have unpublished the free flavor from the various distribution channels, but the current version will still be visible to those who have installed it in the past. I have also left the download links to the old versions on the changelog page on this site in case anyone is ever interested in inspecting the old APKs.
For those who are interested in using Privacy Browser without using on one of the paid app stores, you can always download it for free from F-Droid (preferred because it prompts when an update is available) or directly from the changelog page on this site.