Faster, cleaner ad blocker blocking

I'm still working on figuring out the best way to block browsers that have certain ad blockers running, without pushing costs onto users.

Paid whitelisting and other practices make conventional ad blockers bad for web sites. But I'm running into a couple of problems.

  • Ad blocker developers can easily see blocker-blocker scripts and work around them.

  • Blocker-blocker scripts waste bandwidth and energy for users who are doing things right.

  • Some blocker-blocker scripts also block the users of legit privacy tools.

What I really want to be able to do is run the blocker-blocker script only for users who I can confirm are part of the problem—blocking ads but allowing third-party tracking, as seen in the paid whitelisting racket. Paid whitelisting is a dark pattern.

So what I'm going to do is first, run a third-party tracking test, then if that shows the browser is vulnerable to third-party tracking, add the ad blocker detector script to the page.

  • Privacy software users will pass the third-party tracking test, so get no ad blocker detector.

  • Unprotected users will get the ad blocker detector, but it won't detect anything. They'll see the page (to which the tracking detection script can add a warning about vulnerability to third-party tracking).

  • Users participating in paid whitelisting will get blocked until they either fix their configuration or install a privacy tool on top of their ad blocker.

The whole thing depends on detecting third-party tracking accurately. There are potential false positives here.

In all of those cases the tracking protection detection script will load, but the user has still made the choice to get protected.

I want to encourage, not discourage, tracking protection experimentation by users (It's better for sites.) So I can't just check if Google Analytics can load on the page. Accurately determining if a user is trackable is what makes the Aloodo Project interesting.

Anyway, script. Reduce bandwidth consumption and battery suckage, get a more accurate result. Ideas welcome. (Yes, I'll stick a real license on it if anybody needs one.)

Don Marti · #

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