What activists call “detection” is just the perceived action of the script. To illustrate this, let’s use simple CSS to show that many adblockers can be “detected” and thwarted without scripting at all.
A simple way to block a large number of ad blockers is to name the page’s <body> element with the name of a commonly-used advertising-element.
That ridiculously simple strategy will result in many first-generation Adblockers attempting to hide the entire body of the page. Did that constitute some invasion of user privacy? Obviously not.
The same strategy can be applied to any container DIV on the page which is part of normal content. Likewise any useful content-related image on the page could be similarly named with a filtered element name.
Which raises the hypothetical question: What if publishers around the world started naming every page element on every web page on the Internet using ‘advertising-sounding’ element names? What if every single element of the DOM, in every corner of the web was made to look and smell like an ad?
(I’ll tell you: EasyList would weigh in at around a terabyte). But I digress. That’s not likely to happen… at least not any time soon.
Any script that might otherwise be blocked by Adblock, would then include the appropriate code to “unhide” the hidden container. Any users who are blocking that particular script won’t benefit from the script’s embedded “unhiding” feature.
This technique for defending against ad blockers isn’t detecting anything at all. It is simply creating a dependency within the page code.
Of course, I recommend a more robust, scripted solution (like BlockAdblock) — but the notion that blocking adblockers must by definition constitute a violation of privacy is obviously absurd.
The next question is…
If one circumvents anti-adblock defenses or even an inactive, pure-CSS method of blocking Adblock as described above — are they in violation of the DMCA “anti-circumvention” laws?
As I have pointed out before, unlike EU laws — the DMCA says it very clearly:
No person shall manufacture, import, offer to the public, provide, or otherwise traffic in any technology, product, service, device, component, or part thereof,that—[a] is primarily designed or produced for the purpose of circumventing a technological measure that effectively controls access to a work
Seems pretty straightforward to me. Maybe it’s time to flip the script?