So things just keep getting stranger and stranger online. A bunch of mobile operators are apparently planning to start automatically blocking all mobile ads
. Now, for those of you who hate ads online, this might seem
like a good thing, but it is not. If you
want to disable ads on your own, that should be your call. In fact, as we've noted before, we think people on the web have every right
to install their own ad blockers, and we find it ridiculous when people argue that ad blocking is some form of "theft."
But this is different... and this is dangerous.
As the reports make clear, this move has nothing to do with actually protecting the public from malicious or annoying ads... and everything to do with the mobile operators hoping to shake down Google.
The plan – which would be devastating to companies reliant on advertising – is not limited to a single European network. Its apparent aim is to break Google’s hold on advertising.
The FT report says that “an executive at a European carrier confirmed that it and several of its peers are planning to start blocking adverts this year” and will be available as an “opt-in service” however they are also considering applying the technology across their entire mobile networks.
And, the clear plan is to then go to Google and say "give us money or else
The unnamed European carrier in the Financial Times article is reportedly planning to target Google and block its ads to force the company into giving up some of its revenue.
The companies are using a product called Shine
, which has a big bullshit claim on its page that it "champions the consumer's rights to control mobile ads." If that were the case it would be offering the tool to consumers. It's not. It's selling to big service providers, and then letting those service providers spy on all of your surfing
in order to remove the ads.
be a serious concern for anyone using a service that signs up for Shine. Even if it's an "opt-in" offering, what the company is really doing is a form of deep packet inspection and blocking your mobile internet from acting the way it should. In other words, this looks like a net neutrality violation on a large scale.
As we've pointed out in the past, the broadband providers aren't stupid. They know that if they go for a direct plan of blocking or degrading apps you like, it gets people angry. So they look for ways to break net neutrality that look like
they're doing the consumer favors -- things like zero rating, and now this. But that's not what's happening at all. This is all just the exact same plan as many broadband providers have had for years: figure out a way to pressure Google into coughing up some of its revenue, not by earning it, but by creating a mess for the company.
And, in the process, it's causing a mess for users by mucking with their internet connections, doing deep packet inspection, and blocking content.