Ad Blocking Detection Could be Against EU Law

/ 4 years ago

ad block detection

In recent months, there has been an organised reaction against ad blocking software from a number of high-profile websites, including Wired and Forbes, but a discovery by a privacy advocacy organisation may indicate that detecting user settings, like using an ad blocker, is against European Union law.

Alexander Hanff, CEO of Think Privacy, received a letter, purportedly from Jean-Claude Juncker, the President of the European Commission, which suggests that accessing user data in such a manner requires both a transparent explanation of the act and user permission, neither of which are present when websites detect the use of ad blockers.

“Under Article 5.3 of the ePrivacy Directive storing information or gaining access to information already stored in the terminal equipment of a subscriber or user is allowed on condition that the subscriber or user concerned has given his or her consent, having been provided with clear and comprehensive information, in accordance with Directive 95/46/EC, inter alia, about the purposes of the processing,” the letter reads.

In other words, websites should not be allowed access or detect settings on a user’s computer unless that act has been fully explained to the user and they have subsequently given their permission. In terms of ad blockers, that would mean that website owners do not have the right to detect your use of such software without your permission.

Following receipt of the letter, Hanff has announced that he will be publishing a list of all sites within the EU that detect ad blocking software:

Image courtesy of Marketing Land.

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