Germany will ban the usage of advert blocking software, to protect establishment media, as requested by senior politicians including Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Golem, an IT news website, reported that the advertising agencies’ and media’s legal fight against advert blocking was taking “too long”, and noted that an official report recommended courts throw out advert blockers’ defence of their programs and activities. Germany’s Federal State Commission’s draft of the report did not include any recommendations on software which blocks adverts.
After Chancellor Merkel intervened, however, the report on media convergence added a chapter on how newspapers could protect themselves against advertising blockers. The report deemed “legal provisions necessary” on the web browser extensions and software.
The media and advertising bodies argued that Germans are “not entitled to free information” so they should either pay to read mainstream advertisers’ websites or “tolerate” advertising.
While advertising blockers are already considered illegal, according to Golem, in order for the laws to be activated the commission advised that there should be a “legal and media policy requirement for a statutory prohibition of ad blockers”.
The report recommends that Germany implements geoblocking software. This would bar Germans from downloading ad blocking programs, and would bar them from adding advert-blocking browser add-ons.
Some German newspapers, such as Bild, prevent people who use advert blockers from viewing their website. Even with advert blockers disabled on their page, these websites are still not viewable.
This is not the first time Ms. Merkel has interfered in internet freedom. In January, Breitbart London reported that the German Chancellor had intervened in the moderation of websites, putting pressure on social media outlets to ban “hate speech”. As a result, Google, Twitter, and Facebook agreed to block “hate speech” from their platforms.
In April, German police raided 10 apartments because they believed residents had made “anti-migrant” social media posts.