The Ethical and Legal Implications of Ad-Blocking Software Note


Ian C. Butler

Document Type



In recent years, the presence of advertising on the Internet has become commonplace. Ads appear before and during the playback of videos, within the headers, footers, and sidebars of various social networking websites, blogs, and newspapers. In some cases, ads are even commingled with the webpage content in such a way that the ads become indistinguishable from non-advertising content. The prevalence, and often obtrusiveness, of internet advertising has incited the development and widespread use of adblocking software-a phenomenon that has, in turn, diminished the advertising revenue relied upon by many internet content providers. First, this Note examines the technical functionality of ad-blocking software and the ways internet content providers have responded. Next, this Note analyzes the legal and ethical arguments that may be raised to either justify or admonish the use of ad-blocking software. Finally, this Note examines the challenges users face in attempting to effectively protect their privacy when browsing the Internet and considers whether ad-blocking software is a viable solution.

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