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Advertising Cellphones Handhelds Your Rights Online

Mobile Giant Three Group To Block Online Advertising (thestack.com) 94

An anonymous reader writes: Global mobile provider Three has announced that it will shortly begin to block online advertising on all of its six European networks, beginning with the UK and Italy. The company, which also has networks in Hong Kong and Indonesia, will announce its partnership with Israeli network ad-blocking startup Shine at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, according to sources. Shine's first network ad-block customer was Caribbean provider Digicel last year, but the new Three Group deal seems set to cause massive disruption to web-based publishers — who, it seems, may have to pay for bandwidth and show more respect for user privacy in their ads if they want to continue to operate in the mobile space.
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Mobile Giant Three Group To Block Online Advertising

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  • It Works Both Ways (Score:5, Insightful)

    by KermodeBear ( 738243 ) on Friday February 19, 2016 @09:54AM (#51540919) Homepage

    I wonder how many sites will decide to simply block users that are on Three's address space.

    Then the issue becomes, "Who will want to use Three's service when all the sites I like to use aren't available?"

    This could be very interesting.

    • Then the issue becomes, "Who will want to use Three's service when all the sites I like to use aren't available?"

      Simple: Three puts up a user controllable switch labelled: "Preserve my monthly data allowance for what I want to download (useless adverts blocked)". Enough people will not flip the switch that the advert encumbered sites won't want to block Three completely. This will also tell their users why some sites look different.

    • >> sites will decide to simply block users
      That won't happen.
      There's a policy for acceptable ads, defined by consensus together with adblockers and users.
      The rules are set. Either malware ad companies conform to that, or they'll die.
      And seems that they'll die sooner than they think, since there is some generic blocking from ISPs

  • by Anonymous Coward

    While I loathe ads, as I am sure everyone posting here probably does, I can't help but think that whenever people have tried to blanket block feature-xyz-of-the-internet-that-they-don't-like it invariably ends up failing and being a huge clusterfuck. Again, ads can go and suck it, but this does sort of sound like nuking the whole thing from orbit when maybe a closer inspection, or maybe just a wee peak, from the Colonial Marines is in order.

    • It will probably break stuff, but on the plus side this will probably force more content to move to HTTPS. With services like CloudFlare stuffing tons of sites onto the same IPs, IP-based blocking isn't even useful there.
    • by stooo ( 2202012 )

      >> people have tried to blanket block feature-xyz-of-the-internet-that-they-don't-like
      This is not people. This is ISPs. They are in control of what people see ( and they shouldn't)
      In this case it will force ad companies to switch from malware to reasonnable ad policies.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    It wouldn't surprise me if more sites pull a Forbes and disallow anyone with an ad blocker turned on from reading their content. Wired has already announced plans to follow along. Three users may find that many sites don't allow them access because their provider is blocking ads. While I hope Three is successful in blocking abusive ads, I suspect they may be harmed when their users can't access some sites. It's a shame...

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I use uBlock Origin and subscribe to the Anti-Adblock Killer list. Wired, Forbes, etc. -- can read them all.

  • by fustakrakich ( 1673220 ) on Friday February 19, 2016 @10:01AM (#51540951) Journal

    That's just as bad as blocking porn or pirate bay. It's censorship. I'll do my own filtering, if you don't mind.

  • Lawsuits in 3.. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 19, 2016 @10:03AM (#51540959)

    ..2..1..

    Seriously, I dislike ads as much as the next guy, and I use AdBlock plus on my PCs, but I'm not sure I'm comfortable with a network basically deciding that ad-funded content is now over. I guess their lawyers have checked this out, but it seems strange to me that a network can legally strip out ads that aren't breaking any law. Of course, that's probably not what they're doing; as this comment in the TFA says;

    "It is reported that Three may only target the most disruptive and data-gobbling of ads, such as autoplay videos – and, more cynically, that advertisers will actually be able to run anything they like; except that now it’s time to pay, both for the privilege and the bandwidth."

    As usual, if you want the truth, follow the money.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Bingo. Adblock Plus is currently the most deceptive advertising operation in the industry, turning "ads per decision between web site and user" into "ads as long as you pay us a cut", while disguising itself as ad-blocking service. And it seems mobile operators want in on this revenue generation model.

      • I have never seen an ad while I have adblock on. For me it is blocking ads, and blocking ALL ads. It is not deceptive because it does exactly what it says it does. So few advertisers have opted into adblock's whitelist that it really doesn't matter.

    • What law says they can't block ads? Is there some Right Of Advertisers law in Europe? Is there a right for advertisers to steal your bandwidth also?

  • Networks VS Advertisers in a knife fight. Awesome.

    Fuck 'em both I say.
  • by monkeyxpress ( 4016725 ) on Friday February 19, 2016 @10:07AM (#51540985)
    Okay so this sounds great, but if everyone cheers them on for doing it, what is to stop them turning around in 6 months time and saying you have to pay extra to access youtube on your phone?
    • by Ash-Fox ( 726320 )

      if everyone cheers them on for doing it, what is to stop them turning around in 6 months time and saying you have to pay extra to access youtube on your phone?

      Nothing, but nothing is stopping consumers from going to another provider either.

      • I thought that, but I suspect that the biggest bulwark against telcos charging differently for content (which is something they all really want to do) is that most people just think of their ISP as a utility provider who shouldn't concern itself with what they are using the pipe for. This erodes the basis for that perception. Slippery slope and all that.
        • by Ash-Fox ( 726320 )

          I thought that, but I suspect that the biggest bulwark against telcos charging differently for content (which is something they all really want to do) is that most people just think of their ISP as a utility provider who shouldn't concern itself with what they are using the pipe for.

          According to the article, they aren't charging differently, they're just giving an optional block for more obnoxious ads that they are looking to enable by default because those ads tend to cause customers to have larger expens

      • by stooo ( 2202012 )

        >> Nothing, but nothing is stopping consumers from going to another provider either.
        Not so sure about that. Usually ISPs copy each other pretty fast. Once one is doing MITM, others will follow suit.

  • by ooloorie ( 4394035 ) on Friday February 19, 2016 @10:09AM (#51540999)
    Doesn't this violate network neutrality? And if they place themselves in the position of being arbiter of what is advertising and what is not, don't they run the risk of being forced to make other content decisions as well? Don't they risk losing common carrier status?
    • by Ash-Fox ( 726320 )

      Doesn't this violate network neutrality?

      There is no shaping of traffic and this is optional to the user.

      Don't they risk losing common carrier status?

      Their ISP side does not have common carrier status, that's just the mobile calls/texts portion, so no they don't risk losing it, they never had it for the ISP portion to begin with.

      • by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Friday February 19, 2016 @11:43AM (#51541575) Homepage

        There is no shaping of traffic and this is optional to the user.

        Technically, no:

        The release indicates that the ad-blocking will not be absolute and non-negotiable, and lays out three goals for the transition: that Three's customers should not pay data charges to receive adverts, the cost of which should instead be borne by the advertiser; that customers need to be protected from mobile ads which mine and exploit customer data without their consent or awareness; that customers should be protected from 'excessive, intrusive, unwanted or irrelevant adverts'.

        The amount people pay to deliver the ads is a huge factor here.

        The ad companies are using someone else's bandwidth for free, and the consumer pays to receive it. The carrier is saying "yeah, not so much".

        But it aint optional.

        Roi Carthy, chief marketing officer at Shine, has compared mobile ads to someone siphoning off a dollar of gas when you fill up with $10, as 'smog', and as 'ecosystem in which the cat has been allowed to protect the milk'.

        The ad companies feel entitled to both the revenue and having someone else pay for the bandwidth ... I agree with the idea that, no, we don't owe them a damned thing, and we also can't trust them. I don't care about their revenue, I'll keep blocking them.

        • The amount people pay to deliver the ads is a huge factor here. The ad companies are using someone else's bandwidth for free,

          Ad delivery is a deal between users, content providers, advertisers, and ad companies. The user wants to see content, but that content needs to be paid for. One way of doing that is showing ads.

          I agree with the idea that, no, we don't owe them a damned thing, and we also can't trust them. I don't care about their revenue, I'll keep blocking them.

          I have no problem with you blocking

        • by stooo ( 2202012 )

          >> The ad companies are using someone else's bandwidth for free, and the consumer pays to receive it. The carrier is saying "yeah, not so much".
          You have never run a server.

      • by DF5JT ( 589002 )

        In Austria Three (Drei) offers internet only vial LTE and thus by definition is a common carrier. Since they explicitly state mobile networks, not mobile devices, it will be interesting to see how this plays out. I have been a loyal 3 customer for the past for yours, both for mobile and my stationary internet access. If they decide to go rogue and block stuff without an opt-in, I'll immediately switch to T-Mobile which offers the same bandwidth and rates, alas without the roaming option.

        The roaming option I

    • Your questions are very US-centric, while this is a European network carrying out activities in Europe - for a start, Three is already obliged to make content decisions for currently standing court orders blocking The Pirate Bay et al, Ofcom doesn't enforce any style of network neutrality in the UK, and the same goes for many European countries, and there is no flat "common carrier" status that Three currently enjoys anyway.

      • Your questions are very US-centric

        No, they are not. Europe has also adopted a principle of net neutrality.

        Three is already obliged to make content decisions for currently standing court orders blocking

        So? Do you seriously think that US ISPs are not required to comply with court orders?

        and there is no flat "common carrier" status that Three currently enjoys anyway.

        Of course there is: European ISPs and phone companies are no more (and no less) responsible for the contents of user generated traffic as Am

        • "Europe" covers 50 or so countries, and none of them share telecoms regulations, so no, Europe hasnt adopted a principle of net neutrality. The EU, which is a subset of European coubtries, doesnt even have shared telecoms regulations, and none of the EU member countries have yet created legislation to enact the 2015 "net neutrality" laws passed by the EU parliament, so again, your assertion is false.

          As to court orders, whether US ISPs have to follow US court orders isnt a matter of discussion - the fact rem

          • none of the EU member countries have yet created legislation to enact the 2015 "net neutrality" laws

            Nor did I say they had. All I did in my OP was to ask whether this violated network neutrality, a principle that many in the EU are pushing for. See here [europa.eu]. The rest is a bunch of delusions and straw men on your part.

            Common carrier in the US has a legal meaning, it does not in the UK.

            What a brilliant insight! Next you'll tell us that there are no elevators in the UK! And to top it off you'll observe (correc

    • They are delivering exactly the content that the users want, and delivering all of that content without prioritizing it. It's neutral. The only change is that they're blocking some bad actors who are intruding into the customer's bandwidth and providing unwanted content and malware. If this violates network neutrality then it would mean that any spam filtering also violates network neutrality, or any anti-virus scanner.

      Net neutrality is about point to point neutrality, not about the third parties injecti

      • Net neutrality is about point to point neutrality, not about the third parties injecting unwanted content along the way that cuts into their bandwidth allowance.

        You make it sound like some third party injects its ads against everybody's will, but that's bullshit. The ads are there because the content providers (newspapers, gaming companies, etc.) put them there in order to get a revenue stream. The ads pay for the content, in lieu of actual money.

        They are delivering exactly the content that the users want

  • Skeptic side of me just thinks this is a way to get a piece of the advertising pie. You got some nice ads would be a shame if anything happened to them? *sticks out hand*
  • If 10% of the people run adblockers, most sites just put up a spot asking people to please turn off their ad-blocker.

    If 100% of the people have ads blocked, the site needs to find another way to monetize; like charging for access.

    I LIKE that old people and computer illiterates allow ads to be shown, it keeps me below the radar.

    • by Maritz ( 1829006 )
      Agreed. Ads are fucking great, long as it's someone else sitting through them.
    • by stooo ( 2202012 )

      >> If 100% of the people have ads blocked, the site needs to find another way to monetize
      Bullshit.
      If 30-40% of users have adblockers, the ad networks will swich to an "acceptable ad" policy which respects users, and web sites will earn more with less ads.

      • I think you're overreaching here. The advertising industry is probably incapable of respecting users.

    • Not when those old people are family complaining about how slow the internet has gotten. I install ad blockers for them. Speeds up the internet and I spend less time dealing scrubbing out the malware.

  • My entire family switched to "3" for both mobile and home use a while ago.
    We saved a ton of money and everything works as advertised; much better than older rivals for less money.
    The kit they bundle with the home line is impressive and very geek-friendly too...

    This from the article:

    "The release indicates that the ad-blocking will not be absolute and non-negotiable, and lays out three goals for the transition: that Three’s customers should not pay data charges to receive adverts, the cost of which shou

  • Illegal under net neutrality for a network provider to do this, at least in the US. Blocking at the client level or private network gateway/proxy is the only real legal approach there. However, I definitely like that these guys are pressing the right principals against the abusive advertisers
  • by grahamtriggs ( 572707 ) on Friday February 19, 2016 @11:45AM (#51541591)

    The Shine stats show that 99% of the traffic consists of ads, not content. How realistic / consistent that is is up for debate, but clearly when advertisers are intent on pushing intrusive, bandwidth hungry auto-playing videos, it's clearly going to have a major impact on bandwidth.

    Every mobile provider really should be fighting back against that, as it has a massive impact on mobile performance, for no user benefit (apart from paying for the content).

    If content providers want to deliver to a mobile space, and advertisers want to reach a mobile audience, then they should work together with the mobile industry on better solutions - not simply burden users and networks with a bad experience.

  • What happened to net neutrality?

  • No APK (Score:4, Informative)

    by penguinoid ( 724646 ) on Friday February 19, 2016 @12:11PM (#51541787) Homepage Journal

    In case anyone was wondering why this story isn't littered with hosts files spam, Whipslash said he got rid of APK. I guess now we'll see how that went, as this story would have drawn him out for sure.

    • Lets not go out of our way to draw him out. I'm convinced something of substance has been done, but he's still going to leak in around the edges.

      • Additional filters have been added. His posts are pretty easy to spot, even for a computer (at least when he's behaving like he normally does). Sure, he can act like a normal human and probably still post, but he's shown difficulty in the past being able to behave in a rational manner.

    • by imidan ( 559239 )

      It's like we've been living for years with someone who followed us around, constantly screaming gibberish into our ears, and he's suddenly gone. It's a bit disorienting at first, but I'm sure we'll get used to it.

  • Great! But how could I, as a customer of Three, get a piece of this deal? Want to shovel adware across the carrier's network? Fine. Pay for the privilege. But if you want to consume my devices CPU, battery and storage resources, why am I not also getting a piece of the action?

  • It is the same when a contractor build a mall building, provide the electricity, water etc. Then the tenant come to rent space, after the tenant pay for the contractor services, the contractor choose who the visitor that can come and cannot come to the tenant's place. I never meet something like that in many different countries. It seem three wants to start a new way of business

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