EU defines its stance on ad blockers
Some of you may have already heard about ePrivacy Directive by European Commission. We won't go through all the points of this document, but we can't share the part which goes about ad blocking.
So the latest changes actually allow media companies to take measures against ad blocker users.
Here is a quote from Euro commission press release:
Can users still use ad blockers? The proposal does not regulate the use of ad blockers. Users have the freedom to install software on their devices that disables the display of advertisement. At the same time, the Commission is aware that 'free' content on the internet is often funded by advertisement revenue. Therefore, the proposal allows website providers to check if the end-user's device is able to receive their content, including advertisement, without obtaining the end-user's consent. If a website provider notes that not all content can be received by the end-user, it is up to the website provider to respond appropriately, for example by asking end-users if they use an ad-blocker and would be willing to switch it off for the respective website.
Now it's officially stated that websites don’t need consent to detect ad blockers on users’ devices; previously there were concerns whether this is legal.
At the same time, European Commission rolled back plans to introduce “privacy by design”. This would have required all browsers (such as Firefox and Chrome) to automatically use a “do not track” setting, stopping online advertisers from following people around the web. Instead users will be asked whether they want to opt in to such tracking. Advertisers fear that many will not opt in to tracking, in a change that would upend industry practice.