Author: Alan Toner / Source: Electronic Frontier Foundation
Recently Google and Apple announced plans to respond to complaints about online advertising. Both companies will implement changes to their browsers to neutralize some of the most annoying ad formats, but only Apple has chosen to address concerns around user privacy.
Starting sometime in 2018, Google’s Chrome browser will begin blocking all ads on websites that do not follow new recommendations laid down by the industry group the Coalition for Better Ads (CBA). Chrome will implement this standard, known as the Better Ads Standard, and ban formats widely regarded as obnoxious such as pop-ups, autoplay videos with audio, and interstitial ads that obscure the whole page. Google and its partners worry that these formats are alienating users and driving the adoption of ad blockers. While we welcome the willingness to tackle annoying ads, the CBA’s criteria do not address a key reason many of us install ad blockers: to protect ourselves against the non-consensual tracking and surveillance that permeates the advertising ecosystem operated by the members of the CBA.
Users Can Opt In to Publisher Payments—But Not Out of Tracking
In tandem with their Better Ads enforcement, Google will also launch a companion program, Funding Choices, that will enable CBA-compliant sites to ask Chrome users with content blockers to whitelist their site and unblock their ads. Should the user refuse, they can either pay for an “ad-free experience” or be locked out by a publisher’s adblock wall. Payment is to be made using a Google product called Contributor, first…
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