EU Privacy Advocates Battle YouTube's Ad Blocker Crackdown

YouTube is cracking down against ad blockers and trying to do everything in its power to tighten restrictions against those who impact ad revenue generated through the app.

But it appears that the hurdles coming in the tech giant’s direction are plenty as the EU has deemed the action a clear violation of its law, dubbing the activity illegal. So they are vowing to put an end to the actions.

Meanwhile, the news comes after one leading privacy expert ended up generating a complaint last month through the DPC against the actions of YouTube and its unlawful activity.

Alexander Hanff argued how the app’s advertising blocker system for detection was a huge illegal action that was going unnoticed. But Google failed to accept it as one and deemed it to be unlawful.

The AdBlock is dubbed spyware and there’s no chance of describing it in any other form but this. To roll it out without obtaining consent is alarming and it can spy across devices without anyone noticing so that again is unethical.

Photo: @TechyShahbaz / X

The matter is nothing new and a lot of voices have been raised on the subject. But the app’s efforts carried out globally to prevent this is a new sort of interest. The company has devised a new plan of detection through JavaScript coding means which checks if things on the page are detected when data necessary for blocking ads are loaded. This was published in a recent post by The New York Times.

It’s interesting to see how the app began as a tiny trial in June this year but after a while, it confirmed to media outlet The Verge how it would be increasing its due efforts in this regard.

This was linked to the fact that more and more people were using ad blockers and therefore could no longer see content published on the YouTube app. That’s because the company would put out a prompt immediately that told them they needed to enable ads on the app or take the platform’s Premium subscription to proceed further.

But privacy advocates are not happy and they are seeing more users first download and then uninstall the ad blockers at an alarming pace because it’s not meeting YouTube’s standards. Google says such ad blockers are against its policies and terms of service and it stops its creators from making more money through such actions.

It’s interesting how complaints regarding ad blockers reached the EU as early as 2016 when these types of tools first arose. But during that time, the commission mentioned how such scripts for ad detection fell under the ePrivacy Directives. This meant it required websites to request consent from users before they could process or store their data from devices used. And cookies happened to be a part of this.

But during that time, it failed to have any major effect on how a page could detect such tools. So with time, the EC reversed its thoughts on the matter through a new proposed law in 2017. The latter stated how those website providers would now check if users were using ad blockers even if they didn’t provide consent.

The news has others in Europe upset as well as members of the Parliament also mentioned through platforms how YouTube is more directed to surveillance ads via the likes of walls that block ads.

In case YouTube is found guilty of such behavior by the European Commission, it’s bound to be slapped with a huge fine.

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