YouTube could face criminal charges for “spying” on users with ad blockers


YouTube’s war on ad blockers has gotten very aggressive over the past few months, where the company has started to prevent videos from playing whenever it detects that the user is using an ad blocker.

But it turns out that the way YouTube detects ad blockers might be considered “spying”. According to a report from The Register, privacy consultant Alexander Hanff is in the process of filing a criminal complaint against YouTube over its use of scripts to detect when a user is using an ad blocker extension in their browsers. Haniff claims that this is tantamount to spying on EU citizens. According to his statement to The Register, Haniff says:

“I consider YouTube’s script to be spyware – aka surveillance technology, as it is deployed without my knowledge or authorization to my device for the sole purpose of intercepting and monitoring my behavior (whether or not ads load in my browser or are blocked by an ad blocker).”

So far, no action has been taken against YouTube. The Irish Data Protection Commission whom the complaint was filed with is said to be waiting for a response from Google before further action, if there is any, is taken. It is unclear how Haniff’s complaint will pan out and whether or not YouTube will argue that what they’re doing is legally allowed.

That being said, it’s hard to fault YouTube for being aggressive against ad blockers. Blocking ads basically makes it harder for YouTube and creators to earn money, and while the company has been kind of lax against ad blockers in the past few years, it looks like their recent actions have suggested that they’re not taking this lying down anymore.

Source: The Register

Tyler Lee
A graphic novelist wannabe. Amateur chef. Mechanical keyboard enthusiast. Writer of tech with over a decade of experience. Juggles between using a Mac and Windows PC, switches between iOS and Android, believes in the best of both worlds.

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