Princeton University Researchers Produce Powerful Ad-Blocker

Posted 14 April 2017 23:55 CEST by Kerry Brown

A new type of ad-blocker has surfaced, designed by a team of researchers from Princeton and Stanford universities.  This is a unique solution that is very effective and passed tests on fifty sites that attempt to stop ad blockers, and managed to defeat Facebook ads that were previously immune to ad blocking techniques.

Since US government regulations require that advertisements are clearly labeled as such, this basically puts a target on the visual representation of the ad.  The team of researchers uses computer “vision” techniques that recognize ads just the same way that humans do, instead of relying on the underlying code used to make the ads.  Since the advertisers are required to make their ads recognizable, this is not something that can be negated, and it marks a clear victory path for future ad blockers.

At the moment, the research team has only produced a “proof of concept” ad blocker, which will work on Chrome to detect ads, but will not block them.  One of the spokesmen for the researchers, Arvind Narayanan, said “To avoid taking sides on the ethics of ad-blocking, we have deliberately stopped short of making our proof-of-concept tool fully functional—it is configured to detect ads but not actually block them.” It is likely that some of the more popular ad blockers will adopt this new technique however, and they may become very difficult for publishers to stop.

You can read more on the story at Motherboard Vice.



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