Most ad-blocking browser extensions look for specific file paths and filenames (such as those in the ad blocking Easylist) being called from within a page, and remove them from the version of the page that is rendered in your browser.
Of course, ad blockers can look for and remove the anti-adblocker scripts as well, and that’s what’s happening in the case of blocking tools, such as Adblock Plus and uBlock Origin, that regularly provide extra filters to download and add to the blocker so that it can remove the latest scripts.
But as its anti-adblocker scripts are added to the filter lists, YouTube releases updated versions of those scripts. So now there’s an adblock detection arms race going on, embodied by the “Is YouTube Anti-Adblock Fixed” website, which monitors whether the uBlock Origin browser plugin is successfully circumventing YouTube’s adblock detection or not by comparing a list of YouTube anti-adblocker script IDs with the list of script IDs that are blocked by the plugin.
Fundamentally, the EU says that random websites aren’t allowed to rummage around in your stuff without permission. That’s something most people agree on. Google itself forbids Android app developers from using the QUERY_ALL_PACKAGES permission, describing a user’s installed apps as “personal and sensitive information.”
Lawton says that YouTube “will of course cooperate fully with any questions or queries from the DPC.”
The Irish Data Protection Commissioner’s office did not provide a comment for this feature, but Hanff says that the DPC has confirmed to him that it’s investigating the case.