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YouTube’s Anti-Ad-Block Measures May Be Illegal In Europe

One of the biggest stories in internet news lately is YouTube’s crackdown on Ad-Block software which has sparked a sort of cat-and-mouse game between YouTube and its users of getting around the ad block… block. It’s not something I’ve been too bothered with as I just roll with the ads, it is one of our sources of income so, I’d be a hypocrite to use it. Fortunately for ad block users in the EU, some legal information has come forward that you’ll be happy to hear.

YouTube’s Anti-Ad-Block Illegal in The EU?

As reported by TheVerge, YouTube’s ad block detection system may be illegal under EU law. Alexander Hanff, a privacy expert, filed a complaint back in October with the Irish Data Protection Commission (DPC) which argues YouTube’s Ad Blocker detection system is a violation of privacy. Hanff argues that it specifically violates the ePrivacy Directive “YouTube’s script for ad-blocking detection violates the directive by not obtaining explicit consent from users before conducting browser interrogation.” This claim is being investigated by the DPC.

The experiment around blocking ad blocks started small back in June/July but has recently become significantly larger and affects more users. It has been claimed that this increase in ad-block detection has had a huge effect on ad-block installations as many users are hunting for ones that still work and some even changing their user agent to a Windows Phone to get around it, though I’m not sure if that one has been fixed since it was first shared.

The unfortunate side of this is that if YouTube are restricted from detecting ad-block, it will only affect the EU leaving everyone else to deal with it or hunt for a similar clause in their laws.

Jakob Aylesbury

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