IAB Europe has issued guidance to EU-based publishers on ad blocking detection following reports that such detection without the consent of users is illegal under the ePrivacy Directive (better known as the “Cookie Directive”).
We believe that publishers should be allowed to ask for compensation for their work and choose the form of their business model, e.g. advertising funded, subscription based, or both. We also believe that publishers are entitled to take reasonable measures to ensure that their audiences understand the implicit deal that takes place when they view advertising funded content online. The deal being that users do not have to pay for access to content in exchange for seeing advertising. We are convinced that EU privacy rules should not be interpreted as meaning that publishers are required to ask for permission from users before ascertaining whether the latter are indeed holding up their end of the bargain in this value exchange.
Nevertheless, to attenuate the risk that a publisher could be liable for breaching even an exceedingly strict interpretation of the directive, our guidance describes how user consent for ad blocking detection can be obtained. The guidance is intended to support publishers as long as the legal situation remains unclear.