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United Kingdom Advertising The Almighty Buck The Media Your Rights Online

UK Gov't Launches Anti-Adblocking Initiative, Compares It To Piracy (thestack.com) 317

An anonymous reader writes: UK culture secretary John Whittingdale has announced that the British government will set up a 'round-table' between online publishers and adblocking companies to discuss the 'problem' of adblocking. He described the practice of charging companies to be whitelisted as a 'modern day protection racket', and said: "Quite simply – if people don't pay in some way for content, then that content will eventually no longer exist And that's as true for the latest piece of journalism as it is for the new album from Muse." The issue has largely been left to the market to self-regulate until now, although Germany's courts ruled adblocking legal in 2015.
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UK Gov't Launches Anti-Adblocking Initiative, Compares It To Piracy

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  • by BarbaraHudson ( 3785311 ) <barbarahudson@gma i l .com> on Wednesday March 02, 2016 @01:56PM (#51622965) Journal

    If we don't pay politicians who come up with these stupid ideas, maybe they will no longer exist?

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 02, 2016 @02:36PM (#51623291)

      It's nothing to do with the politicians. It's the advertisers and their under-table back-handers. A lowly oik is promised a non-executive board position at £300k/yr 4ish years down the road. She raises the issue with civil servants (job for life in the public sector, never lose their jobs when govts change) until it makes it to a committee. At this point more money comes in via promises of further non-exec income for the senior people on said committee; these people will be associated with a given party, even if they're don't hold a senior seat.

      Sooner or later the corps get to buy legislation at the expense of the people. This is obviously the status quo in the US, but no Europe (yet). The retards in the UK always gripe about the House of Lords, but it's these very people that are the last bastion of sanity to tell the lower House to fuck off with this shit. Unfortunately the UK has followed the US model and set things up to reduce the peers (who have zero worries about income, wealth, education et al, for them and their family), and load up with career politicians to outvote those that see through the obvious corporate buy-the-law bullshit.

      • by mikael ( 484 ) on Wednesday March 02, 2016 @04:55PM (#51624453)

        It's the only way they can fund the cost of internet surveillance. Companies like Phorm would do deep packet inspection of internet traffic for keywords, web addresses in combination with a tracking cooking UID. They would sell advertising slots to advertisers and websites. When a website requested an banner advert, Phorm would check the IP address and keywords, then provide a suitable advert if possible.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

        It was only discovered when a businessman couldn't understand why his web pages were different on different computers.

    • by Sax Russell 5449D29A ( 4449961 ) <sax.russell@outlook.com> on Wednesday March 02, 2016 @02:48PM (#51623393)

      I sort of understand their point in this matter, at least partially. When money comes into play regarding whitelisting, that's where I'm having a hard time accepting ad blocking companies' actions. It's like being forced to claim a Yelp business profile so you can respond to critical comments.

      What I don't have any objections against are non-profit adblocking software that let the user fully control what they see or don't see while respecting their privacy. No hidden URL tracking policies, data collection, ad whitelisting schemes or any similar nonsense. There are already a metric shitton of means to get around ad blocking software and improving user privacy at the same time.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 02, 2016 @03:04PM (#51623507)

        It costs money to confirm that content is safe for consumption, ads are no different. The whitelisting fee goes toward verifying that the ad is safe, non-intrusive, and not a vector for malware.

        • by sudon't ( 580652 )

          Look, I don't need these excuses about "malware", although that, and the whole spying game, have certainly given ammunition to the users. I've hated ads since before the internet existed, and the internet once existed without ads. People have no intrinsic right to make money on the internet. The commercialization of the internet has done nothing except crowd out the people, and turned it over to corporations. Let's keep the internet free, and ad-free.

          • Look, I don't need these excuses about "malware"

            Malware is almost exclusively why I use an adblocker. I've never checked the box on Slashdot that allows them to show me ads - I'm totally fine with those, or others that are reasonably non-intrusive and safe.

            I used to use NoScript, which functioned almost like an adblocker in many cases just by accident, but too much of the web these days simply breaks when I try to use it. Moreover, pure Javascript-based exploits seem to be much rarer these day, with plugins like Flash and Java the seeming to be the mor

      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        The minister is doing this on behalf of his friends in the content industry. That's the biggest problem with it - the conclusion that it's a problem was drawn because it's bad for his friends.

        • The minister is doing this on behalf of his friends in the content industry. That's the biggest problem with it - the conclusion that it's a problem was drawn because it's bad for his friends.

          Or, all the opposing views didn't even bother to write to their MP because they are too lazy. Democracy is biased toward those who put in effort, you can't complain if your effort is confined solely to bitching on Internet forums.

      • To be completely honest, as much as I hate ads, I'm fine with the "acceptable ad" programs and the like. As long as I can still block the ads (and I can, since ABP lets you disable the acceptable ads stuff), then other people can fund ABP development and ad-supported sites. Call me selfish, but I have no problem with chumps paying for my stuff. Same thing with preinstalled crapware on PCs, I love it when other people subsidize my PC purchase when I'm just going to install a fresh OS anyways. Hell, the reaso
    • Barking at the waves to make them stop.
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

      • by Z00L00K ( 682162 )

        And if AdBlocking software is banned, then people will just figure out other ways to keep the web clean.

        Or just avoid the ad-contaminated sites completely and stick to sites where the ads aren't drowning the content. It's nothing new that ads are killing information outlets. It has happened to magazines (like the Byte magazine which in the mid 80's was almost all ads) where the magazine turned from a small interesting magazine to a huge ad-book with a few articles that weren't far from being ads themselves.

        • It has happened to magazines (like the Byte magazine which in the mid 80's was almost all ads) where the magazine turned from a small interesting magazine to a huge ad-book with a few articles that weren't far from being ads themselves.

          Yeah, I remember when Byte went from an moderately informative magazine to little more than an ad-delivery system. 100 pages per issue and 75 of them were ads. And yes, the "articles" were basically product placement devices with almost no informative content except for the recommendation to "buy this awesome product!"

          PCMag went the same route, 80% ads and a few shit articles that rarely had anything interesting to say, except for John Dvorak and his weird, random habit of bolding some words that he felt we

        • by lgw ( 121541 ) on Wednesday March 02, 2016 @04:36PM (#51624299) Journal

          And if AdBlocking software is banned, then people will just figure out other ways to keep the web clean.

          As much as I hate to say this, and I really hate to say this: ad-blocking through host file changes will be resilient.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Someone is paying them to come out with this. The Ad-industry has gone all out with its anti-adblocking initative in the last year or so.

      We've seen the ab-block plus creator get co-opted [slashdot.org], likely from a combination of legal pressure, social schoomizing(lobbying), and probably some kind of attempted bribery. We're seeing more websites (e.g. Wired [slashdot.org]) explicitly shut out browsers with ab-blockers. Google and Yahoo have likewise begun to openly complain about ad-blocking technology [slashdot.org].

      There is a major push against ad

    • by penguinoid ( 724646 ) on Wednesday March 02, 2016 @03:39PM (#51623793) Homepage Journal

      Adblocking really is just like piracy. A better product at a better price.

    • I think the UK has laws regarding junk mail and direct marketing. But this initiative seems to fly in the face of those.

    • by zieroh ( 307208 )

      Attention, UK Bureaucrats! Black Mirror [wikipedia.org] is a warning, not an instruction manual!

  • In other news... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by danbert8 ( 1024253 ) on Wednesday March 02, 2016 @01:57PM (#51622979)

    People who abuse free samples are equivalent to thieves, people who test drive cars excessively are car jackers, and those taking more pennies than they leave are bank robbers!

  • by serviscope_minor ( 664417 ) on Wednesday March 02, 2016 @01:58PM (#51622983) Journal

    If your product has adverts then adverts are part of your product. That makes YOU responsible for them. So if they annoy the ever living crap out of your users then it is YOUR fault.

    So if you need adverts then take some responsibility. That means making sure you don't have adverts so obnoxious or malware ridden that your users want to block them. If the users want to block your adverts it is your fault and you have failed.

    If you just want to "maximize your monetization" or simply can't be arsed to do a decent job, then you have no sympathy from me.

    • by Lab Rat Jason ( 2495638 ) on Wednesday March 02, 2016 @02:22PM (#51623185)

      This X1000!

      A newspaper would NEVER print (physically print) an ad that they hadn't reviewed first... NEVER, so why when you go to a news web site do you see ads which have not been reviewed? I know for a fact that they don't bother! Example: a local flight school had an airplane crash last year... the story the local news ran had a sidebar advert for that very same flight school. Two people died in that crash, and nobody thought: Hmmm... is this appropriate? If you can't be bothered to look at your ads, then I can't be bothered to look at them either. Add blockers won't work against self-hosted ads, so the solution is already present and obvious. Stop trying to make laws to protect your laziness! It's really not that hard to ask your editors to "flag" certain subjects as off limits for ads, and if you control the ad platform, problem solved!

      When you look at other industries outside of news, the problem is the same. We've achieved the ability to track people, and therefore provide contextual advertising based on other websites I visit, but there is never any awareness about the website I'm currently visiting. Kinda like a rape counseling site with a dating app ad in the sidebar. The funny thing is, it's probably not bringing the advertiser the value they want either.

      • by taustin ( 171655 )

        Print ads cost a lot more than web page ads. That means there's enough money to pay for an employee to look at each ad. For the big ad networks, with millions of ads being served every year, that's not possible, ever. The alternative isn't between human reviewed ads and broken auto-review, the alternative is between broken auto-review and having to get an honest job because your ad company has gone bankrupt.

        In other words, the web simply can't continue as an ad driven medium. Nobody will pay enough for web

        • You're wrong actually. I still remember when Slashdot started and CmdrTaco put ads as images on a server on his own domain. Back then, what I heard, was that they got more money per ad because there were no middlemen and the ad was actually targeted. Now you have computer targeted ads from ad services companies who don't care a damn about each add but they make it up in volume. And it shows.

          I still remember Doubleclick and Gator as well. I think Google eventually bought Doubleclick. But Gator... I dunno. I

    • by Thud457 ( 234763 )
      WOT? No Forbes link?

      It would negatively impact shareholder value to ensure that our toothpaste doesn't contain ground glass or strychnine.
      • by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Wednesday March 02, 2016 @03:10PM (#51623547) Journal

        I like the Forbes model. Ad blocking is not a long-term sustainable model. Sites that produce original content need to be funded in some way. Forbes says 'if you're not willing to see the ads here, then please don't come to our site'. I don't consider their content worth disabling the tracking blocker that I use (note: I don't block ads, I block flash and I block known tracking JavaScript. If your ads rely on that, then you're collateral damage), so I don't get past the page with the warning.

        Deciding that you do value their content, but you're not willing to accept their revenue model is hypocritical. I'd be quite happy with an ad blocker that applied the Forbes model globally - if a site is too annoying, just block the entire site. For one thing, it would encourage sites to pursue alternate revenue streams, rather than assuming that the advertising bubble will keep growing forever.

        • Forbes says 'if you're not willing to see the ads here, then please don't come to our site'.

          And thus I don't go to their site, they don't get to count my accesses as views, their 'readership' just went down in a small way.

          Hell, last time I tried they delivered the 'turn off adblock' even when I had it turned off, with the goal of seeing what they considered 'minimal ads', so it seemed that they weren't interested in delivering content to me, period. Screw them.

          I have 'allow acceptable ads' checked in adblock. You want to deliver ads to me? There's a program to get white listed. The primary rea

        • > Ad blocking is not a long-term sustainable model.

          [[Citation]]

          > Sites that produce original content need to be funded in some way.

          Somebody call the waaambulance. Repeat after me, It's not my job to support your broken business model.

          > Deciding that you do value their content, but you're not willing to accept their revenue model is hypocritical.

          Oh please, quit with the false dichotomy. This bullshit argument doesn't work for print, radio, TV, so why the fuck should the medium (web) be any differ

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The closest example to this is a company that has door to door vacuum bed salespeople. One in every 10, when visiting a house, will pull out a sawed off twelve gauge and do a home invasion. Guess who will be sued in this case, after a few incidents of this? Yep. The vac bed company.

      This is how it should be with websites. If a website has an advertiser decide to throw a malicious ad up, the website should be financially responsible for the advertiser's dealings, just like Best Buy is responsible if a co

    • Don't...don't even go down this path. Make your stand at "this is my computer, MY computer, and what it does with the information is receives is entirely up to me," as well as pointing out "Quite simply – if people don't pay in some way for content, then that content will eventually no longer exist" -> this man has no idea that the Internet existed before paid content, was more diverse during that time, and arguably a better place.

  • by Ann O'Nymous-Coward ( 460094 ) on Wednesday March 02, 2016 @02:01PM (#51623011)

    Looks like Whittingdale is the best politician money can buy!

    Seriously, I wonder how much he's been paid by various ad companies to shill that hard for them.

    • by Zocalo ( 252965 )
      He probably wasn't paid anything to shill for them. He was probably paid to speak at their conference though - in case you missed it the Oxford Media Convention is a convention for media companies, many of which use advertising, so he was probably doing that other thing politicians do apart from shill and just telling potential voters what they want to hear. He was also picking out the specific practice of charging for whitelists (looking at you ABP) as a protection racket (a sentiment that many Slashdott
      • > He described the practice of charging companies to be whitelisted as a 'modern day protection racket',

        This is a little hyperbolic, but the whole ABP business model feels a little weird. But considering all the extortion from copyright holders, patent holders, trademark holders, it seems that extortion is a perfectly valid business model (as long as it doesn't involve violence)

        • by thsths ( 31372 )

          > it seems that extortion is a perfectly valid business model

          It is. Just look at the Apple Store or the Play Store - they charge 30%, and they are the only way to sell apps to iOS or Android users (unless you take intricate technical measures).

          ABP just applies the same logic to browsers.

        • by Zocalo ( 252965 )
          True, but that is actually more the way it's been pitched by those opposed to the idea - both those that use ad blockers that feel it's somehow unethical or against the spirit of ad blocking and those that oppose the whole concept of ad blocking in general. Pitch it as some form of administration fee to ensure that the advertisers comply with the guidelines set down to meet the standards of the whitelist (such as these criteria [adblockplus.org] for ABP) and don't pull a fast one by switching formats once on the whitelist t
  • Excellent! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 02, 2016 @02:02PM (#51623015)

    "then that content will eventually no longer exist" - for most content out there, this sounds like an excellent plan

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Just because I make a request to a server for content doesn't mean that I have to make additional requests to other servers to get ads. What if I use a browser like lynx or links, which is incapable of displaying most ads? Is that also piracy? Also, I'd really like to see some lawsuits against advertising providers and websites displaying ads when those ads contain malware. Someone needs to be liable for not properly vetting ads.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 02, 2016 @02:04PM (#51623035)

    I'll support anti-blocking initiative, if and only if these websites and ad providers are held criminally and financially liable for any damage caused by malicious ads.

    I've never heard of a TV ad locking up someone's TV and ask for ransom. Hold online ads to the same standard.

    • Just wait... someone will figure out how to embed a sound or video sequence that will compromise a smart TV, and the TV company won't have the technical chops to look for it and reject it... I guarantee it will happen, and probably within the next 10 years.

  • It's simple â" get people used to not being able to block content sent to them, and you'll get people who won't say boo when government-required tracking software is mandatory on any net-connected device. When people don't believe that what belongs to them is theirs, there are amazing things you can get done.
  • by sjbe ( 173966 ) on Wednesday March 02, 2016 @02:07PM (#51623061)

    He described the practice of charging companies to be whitelisted as a 'modern day protection racket', and said: "Quite simply – if people don't pay in some way for content, then that content will eventually no longer exist

    That's EXACTLY the point. I didn't agree to view advertising in exchange for the content. Nobody contacted me about the arrangement to find out how I felt about it. If their business model depends on annoying me in a way that I have the power to stop then it should surprise no one when I go ahead and stop them from bothering me. Their stupid business model is not my problem.

    • Hrm.. Nobody asked you. You didn't actually agree to anything. You don't like the business model and you have a way to opt out of it. Sounds kind of like tipping.

      /ducks

    • I'd look at ads if the advertiser paid me to. Maybe. But in the meantime, back in reality, malware filled crap gets a big fat NO.
      • I'd look at ads if the advertiser paid me to. Maybe

        I suspect most people would if you paid them enough. I certainly would though my hourly rate would be considered absurdly high by any reasonable advertiser. I consider my time to be a precious resource and charge accordingly.

  • Nooooooo (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 02, 2016 @02:08PM (#51623063)

    How about a Govt who has a backbone to say No, the public do not want Ads. I bloddy hate ads on TV and we have gone from 3min ads 3 times and hour 10 years ago to ads 5 mins into programme start, then 8 mins later we 6min ads, then 8 mins later another 6mins etc etc.

    When downloading 1 hour programmes off the SKY network the progrtames are now only 35 mins of content, then we have crappy TV producers who fill the tv programs with loads of "What's coming Up" and Recaps that the 35min of content is now actually 23mins of content.

    The odds now of turning a TV and hitting an ad break is nearly 83%.

    So no to TV ads and No to Ads on my broadband.

  • by nimbius ( 983462 ) on Wednesday March 02, 2016 @02:10PM (#51623085) Homepage
    To meaningfully understand consumer backlash to advertising means we need to go back all the way to 1986. It was here, when advertisers switched from building a product to building a brand and decoupling their reliance on a product entirely. Its also worth noting many scholars reference the 80s to a period of peak consumption. we had more choices than ever, and could no longer reliably rely on quality as a metric for purchases. by the 90s manufacturers through NAFTA and CAFTA had cemented this concept of american "brand" consumption entirely. Advertising, arguably, now had to become entirely predatory.

    luxury cars were no longer sold on quality and luxury, but on a brand of cultivated superiority and projection of affluence. Athletic shoes, appliances, food, you name it, suddenly became a feature of a culture you could define yourself by and not a product you were actually seeking. "what does it do, how well does it do it" was no longer offered to be considered. And as brands forced more and more lifestyle and experience into their products they began to run out of understanding of culture, or the entropy by which their brand-centric consumerism thrived.

    fast forward to this foul year 2016. ads now track you, sites track you, and campaigns overtly demand your input. there are entire analytic suites and social science departments that study you like a petri dish for any semblance of clue as to what defines your wants, and how to exploit your desires. they do this because without information about who you are and what you do, the product cant be targeted to appeal to what lifestyle you can be made to desire. Be it astronaut, playboy, or racecar driver. unless the idea of brand-as-culture is dialed back, this is only going to get worse.

    what we're seeing online is a revolt against the intrusiveness of ads from bandwidth to page view and browser experience, but its also a revolt against the idea of a consumer as a lab-rat
  • Oh really? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by JustAnotherOldGuy ( 4145623 ) on Wednesday March 02, 2016 @02:10PM (#51623091)

    This reminds me of that ass-clown Jamie Kellner (chairman and CEO of Turner Broadcasting) who claimed that using your DVR to skip commercials was like stealing:

    "Because of the ad skips, It’s theft. Your contract with the network when you get the show is you’re going to watch the spots. Otherwise you couldn’t get the show on an ad-supported basis. Any time you skip a commercial or watch the button you’re actually stealing the programming."

    That's odd, because I don't remember signing any contract that says I have to watch commercials.

    Apparently this also applies to going to the bathroom during commercial breaks. If you do that, you're stealing!

    So in response to John Whittingdale, I'll give him the exact same response I gave to Jamie Kellner, and that was, "Fuck you."

    I run some ad-supported sites, and if they die off because the visitors use ad-blockers, so be it. "Them's the breaks." In short, no one owes me anything, and if my site visitors decide to use an ad-blocker, that's fine with me.

    • Apparently this also applies to going to the bathroom during commercial breaks. If you do that, you're stealing!

      What goes around comes around. They spew crap at me, so I spew crap at the same time.

  • BBC (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Simulant ( 528590 ) on Wednesday March 02, 2016 @02:11PM (#51623095) Journal
    That nice BBC system you have over there has worked quite well for some time and should be emulated elsewhere.

    Advertising revenue does not guarantee quality content. Far from it. A huge portion of the internet seems to have already devolved into click-bait with ads. If the choice is between that and nothing, I'll take nothing, There is still life beyond the browser.
    • by Teun ( 17872 )
      What we in Europe call 'public broadcasters' are not all without advertising but the amount is strictly regulated and limited. For example the German 2nd channel called ZDF has no commercials past 20:00 hrs.
      Yes it's costing an annual fee but compared to the US we get reasonable quality programs without a ridiculous number of breaks.
  • by jcochran ( 309950 ) on Wednesday March 02, 2016 @02:16PM (#51623129)

    But I now use an ad blocker for a very simple reason.

    I was looking at a web site for some information that I was interested in and in the middle of my reading, the page suddenly scrolled to somewhere in the middle and started playing a video ad. I stopped the video and then spent a fair amount of time attempting to actually resume my reading at the place where I was interrupted (not extremely easy since it was a long page with lots of dense text and I had been involuntarily scrolled away from my place without warning).Just as I resumed reading, the damn ad once again scrolled me away from where I was and started playing the video again. After a few cycles of this bullshit, I decided to install an ad blocker and then went back to the page and actually managed to get the information I desired. And since it's quite frankly easier to block all ads instead of configuring the ad block to only block on certain pages, I by default block all ads. And I have no desire to go back to having ads again. My web pages load faster and I no longer have the damn ads attempting to vie for my attention.

    • by Kjella ( 173770 )

      Just as I resumed reading, the damn ad once again scrolled me away from where I was and started playing the video again. After a few cycles of this bullshit, I decided to install an ad blocker and then went back to the page and actually managed to get the information I desired. And since it's quite frankly easier to block all ads instead of configuring the ad block to only block on certain pages, I by default block all ads.

      This pretty much sums it up, nice guys finish last. You don't block a site, people have a few bad experiences or get fed up and block all ads. And those battling the ad blocker with new and obnoxious ways to push ads are usually the worst of the lot. Since the serious companies can't stop other sites being dicks on the Internet, what are they do to? If you're using an ad blocker and say they should just go away, you're being a hypocrite. You want the content they provide, but not the ads. That's okay, I'd l

      • but I see plenty people who don't want to pay, don't want ads, they just feel entitled to get it for free.

        Even worse, some people watch ads, costing precious bandwidth and server capacity to serve to them, and then they don't buy the product that's being advertised. Even worse, companies that publish ads for their products make them a bit more expensive, and then people pay extra even if they didn't have the pleasure of watching the ads, or visit the web site they were advertised on.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 02, 2016 @02:17PM (#51623135)

    In a further statement UK culture secretary John Whittingdale announced that timed security locks would be placed on every toilet door and kettle across the UK in order to prevent television viewers from doing anything other than watching adverts during commercial breaks. The locks would come on automatically as soon as a commercial break began.

    "We were proposing automated handcuffs synchronised to commercial breaks be fitted to sofas and chairs at the factory," said Whittingdale. "However those foreign communists running Ikea refused to comply so we've reverted to other means to ensure people pay for their TV content."

    A spokes lizard for the UK Advertising Association, when asked for comment, simply said "I'm loving' it, taste the feeling, have it your way," and slithered off to another meeting.

  • The secretary is right that charging companies to be whitelisted is bad (for many different reasons). But somehow he goes from that ethical conundrum about making money by lying to your customers (by not blocking ads) and making money as a middle-man (by charging advertisers) to the idea that ad-blocking itself is bad...

    How do you even manage logic that faulty?
  • Sideways
  • if people don't pay in some way for content, then that content will eventually no longer exist

    ~Right - that's why no content existed on the internet before advertising became a part of it.~

  • So, I pay for content by allowing someone to annoy me?

  • "Invisible" adblock (Score:5, Interesting)

    by genka ( 148122 ) on Wednesday March 02, 2016 @02:22PM (#51623187) Homepage Journal
    Is anyone making an adblock that would download all ad content and promptly send it to /dev/null instead of displaying it? Such adblock will be invisible to the server and the extra bandwidth doesn't matter much on a broadband connection.
    • You could probably do something like this with a proxy. Squid might even be up for the task already. Just have the proxy get all the content on the page (including ads) but have the proxy filter everything before it reaches your browser. You could even set it up in a VM that rolls itself back to a clean state periodically. The problem with doing this is that it would probably drastically increase latency. Waiting for the entire unfiltered page to load before a single bit appears on your screen isn't go

  • by tomxor ( 2379126 ) on Wednesday March 02, 2016 @02:25PM (#51623203)

    Quite simply – if people don't pay in some way for content, then that content will eventually no longer exist And that's as true for the latest piece of journalism as it is for the new album from Muse.

    Yes... and protecting adverts with legislation and vilification of users will prevent sites from innovating and finding better ways for users to pay for content.

    If record companies forced users to pay for music with tractors as a currency, people would quickly get fed up trying to find tractors to exchange for CDs and mp3s. The record companies then have two options: 1. go out of business, 2. find a better model for funding.... if you didn't guess already, adverts are tractors.

    I can also stick with a factual analogy with music: Muse for instance gets a large part of it's funding from concerts, so an entirely feasible business model could be to give their music away for free for non-commercial use and then sell concert tickets... I wonder how sites could indirectly profit from giving away free content... That's the discussion that needs to be had.

    NO MORE TRACTORS!!

  • I request a document, you send it to my computer, for free (if it's not behind a paywall of course).

    Now when it's on my computer, I can do whatever I want with that document. I can delete it, I can edit it, I can keep only parts of it, and then display the result on my screen. You sent me the document, your control of it ends there. I can't republish it or use part of it in another publication of course, but apart from that, as long as it stays on my computer, you have no control as to what I'll do with it.

  • by QuietLagoon ( 813062 ) on Wednesday March 02, 2016 @02:28PM (#51623239)

    ...will set up a 'round-table' between online publishers and adblocking companies...

    Someone needs be in attendance at that round-table event to advocate for the users who employ the ad blockers, so that the users can explain why they are used.

    .
    It is the users who are CHOOSING to use the ad blockers. The users should be represented in that government-sponsored round-table event.

  • As I understand them, current adblockers don't even pull in the content from the Internet in the first place. Why not write an adblocker that gets the content, but doesn't render it to the screen? Unwanted Flash content (yes, I know, Flash is going away soon, hurray!) could be executed in a sandbox, that also isn't rendered to the user's screen. Yes, I'm advocating being very sneaky about this; I'm proposing an adblocker that, unless you're sitting in front of the browser using it, can't be detected. I'm al
    • I am guessing though you would still have to share the cookie with the rest of your browser session and will be open to being tracked.
  • This is becoming a trend!

    After the Congestion Fee for driving in town, the Upgrade Fee for centre seats at the theatre, we now have the ridiculous idea of banning Adblockers, the last prophylactic in our arsenal against e-fections.

    This madness must stop forthwith!

  • Sensational title. From the article (and various others):

    "Whittingdale expressed his preference for the industry to self-regulate"

    Not Government regulation at all. His speech was very much targeted at his audience and I'm no fan of the opinion expressed, but he has not kicked off a government initiative to legislate against AdBlock.
  • Solve the problem of malware being served first then once that self-defence is out of the way look at coming to a resolution of acceptable advertisements.

  • by jenningsthecat ( 1525947 ) on Wednesday March 02, 2016 @03:03PM (#51623497)

    It seems the powers-that-be in Britain are taking their cue from the Australian stance on science censorship [slashdot.org]. When are all these fucktards going to get over their childish 'all your marbles are belong to us' fixation? Possibly when the 'peasants' switch from the adjectival form to the verbal form of 'revolting'.

  • by 24-bit Voxel ( 672674 ) on Wednesday March 02, 2016 @03:24PM (#51623679) Journal

    He's going to be pissed when he finds out what a HOSTS file is.

  • then that content will eventually no longer exist

    Good. This is exactly the point. The content is worthless with the obnoxious advertising baggage, tracking garbage and malware infections that comes with it. Let the worthless advertisement laden sites sink under their own weight.

  • What the hell happened to the UK? They've gone from a seemingly respectable place to a landmass governed by the dumbest fucking people in existence... or maybe they've always been that dumb, but the internet is allowing the stupidity to be relayed in real-time and unforgotten?
  • Nohow (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Archtech ( 159117 ) on Wednesday March 02, 2016 @04:36PM (#51624303)

    "Quite simply – if people don't pay in some way for content, then that content will eventually no longer exist. And that's as true for the latest piece of journalism as it is for the new album from Muse."

    Oh yeah? So is it true for Linux? Or LibreOffice?The other day, when I downloaded the latest version of LibreOffice, I made a voluntary donation. But that was MY choice - I could download their software from now untul Kingdom Come and I wouldn't have to pay a penny.

    John Whittingdale is talking sheer nonsense. Try these:

    "Quite simply – if people don't pay in some way for content, then that content will eventually no longer exist. And that's as true for the latest piece of journalism as it is for the alphabet, the number system, the periodic table, the English language (and all other languages)..."

    Frankly, these days I reckon that the more a piece of journalism costs to read, the less worth while reading it is.

  • This is another attack on the owner/user's ability to control what their computer does. Banning ad-blocking effectively means that as soon as I type a URL in and hit enter, I give unconditional control of a number of aspects of my browser over to the server, and if the author of the content on the server abuses that position, I am not allowed to do anything about it. The client/server arrangement on the web is one of trust. That trust can be abused in various ways. If a website expects ad revenue to fund itself, and users deny it that revenue, that is a problem from the point of view of the content provider, but if the website uses adverts excessively (for example so that various sites are no-go areas of you are on a mobile broadband link with a relatively small cap), then that is an abuse of the control handed to the website by the user. I long for a simple, honest web, but have no real hope of seeing much of one in the near future.

"Oh my! An `inflammatory attitude' in alt.flame? Never heard of such a thing..." -- Allen Gwinn, allen@sulaco.Sigma.COM

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