A bipartisan group of members of the House Judiciary Committee wants to ban the business model of online ad-blockers.
In a letter sent Monday to the Federal Trade Commission and other agencies, the lawmakers call the practice of blocking websites for users who are violating terms of service, privacy rules, or other obligations a “commercial invasion of personal privacy.”
“This business model is akin to using a computer to monitor the browsing history of a person and then selling that information to advertisers,” Rep. Adam Schiff Adam Bennett SchiffHillicon Valley: Rosenstein drama dominates the day | Biz, regulators focus on 5G, privacy | US goes big on prescription drug prices | New York Times best-selling list | Paypal unveils new payments platform | Amazon goes after Apple | Amazon raises prices on Kindle Fire and Fire HDs | Facebook to pay for new FBI probe into Russian ads | Facebook’s Oculus virtual reality headset lands in China, IndiaIt’s not clear how the lawmakers plan to address the concerns raised by the letter.
But in the letter, they specifically mention “blocking ads and other similar activities for ad-supported sites that target individuals based on their online activities.”
The FTC’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance issued a statement Tuesday defending its position that blocking ads for ads on websites that allow users to opt out of them is “legal and a legitimate business practice.”
The agency, in a statement, noted that the FTC “has reviewed and issued guidance on this issue in the past,” but added that the agency “has not determined whether blocking ads constitutes an invasion of privacy.”
The letter also points to a recent FTC ruling that found ad-network companies like Amazon and Google are legally required to make their services available to users who opt out, which is the case for some ad-fob sites like TheAdBlocker.com.
The FTC is not required to consider all online ads.
Schiff and Rep. Mike Conaway Mike Dean ConawayThe Hill’s Morning Report – President Trump gives his first interview in five daysHouse lawmakers are moving forward with their plan to block the Internet advertising business model.
Senate leaders are also considering blocking the ad blocking business model, which would require online ad buyers to pay publishers for ads that are not available to everyone.
The plan is expected to be voted on this week.
The ad blocking industry, which has grown exponentially since the election of President Donald Trump, is largely unregulated.
Many of the websites and services that have been blocking ad-driven content are run by smaller companies or by the online ad delivery companies that are already in the business of delivering ads.