A recent news article caused a public outcry in ad blocking community. After the story broke, we discussed the situation in detail and came up with the same conclusion.
The bottom line of it is that a new law, California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), is being prepared. The act is going to provide California citizens with privacy protections bigger than in any other state, its final rulemaking is scheduled for January 2020.
Under the new law, companies will be required to:
Users, for their part, will be able to request access to their personal information and delete it.
Those principles may be consolidated into a requirement that businesses should honor the privacy choices of Internet users.
The European Union was the first to take a major step towards the protection of user data by adopting the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
What happened next? Without losing further time, five ad industry sharks have appealed to California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and asked him to remove this requirement. Moreover, they want to legally prohibit browsers and other intermediaries (operating systems, extensions) from blocking opt-out cookies. Opt-out cookies communicate to ad servers that a user doesn't want to see personalized ads.
We in AdGuard consider their initiative to be risky and dangerous and here is why:
Such loopholes are a slippery slope that might lead to terrifying consequences.
In the beginning of the article we mentioned requirements of a new privacy law. Ideally, they should become universal rights of Internet users. There are four basic ones:
As ad industry groups wrote in a letter to Becerra, blocking opt-out cookies will result in obstructing consumer control over their personal data distribution. In the US, Canada and Europe there is AdChoices. This program screens its users' interests and shows them 'relevant' internet-based advertising.
They call AdChoices a standard and say that browser extensions, conversely, are just baffling and it's unclear how they work. But here’s the thing:
We believe that nothing good will come out of attempts to push AdChoices.
A simple comparison of user bases of AdChoices with ones of ad blockers makes it clear that blockers are considered de facto as standard for opt-out.
We agree with the CCPA and would like to draw your attention to its provisions, because it seems important to discuss what is happening in the industry.