AdBlock Plus is likely good for the environment

Block online ads, save the environment?

A Canadian university says AdBlock Plus, the advertising-blocking plugin and bane of the online publishing industry, allowed researchers to save up to 40 percent on network bandwidth, Tech Week Europe reports.

This led to lower infrastructure costs and energy usage, meaning Adblock Plus might just be the environmentally conscious way to browse the Web, according to new research from Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, Canada.

Online courses plus “the daily online activity of thousands of employees and tens of thousands of students means that the impact of online advertisements can be substantial,” the researchers wrote, “both in terms of the number of individual users affected, but also in terms of the physical infrastructure and personnel required to handle data flows directly related to online advertisements.”

As great as this might sound, the exact environmental impact of Adblock Plus was not the focus of this particular research, so the researchers’ assertions are educated guesses. So more research is required before Adblock can turn its logo from red to green, but all signs point to significant energy savings.

Adblockers have been criticized as “immoral,” “ignorant,” and even “sociopathic” because they kill the revenue stream for websites and applications that rely on advertising.

On the other side of the argument, supporters of Adblock say that, in addition to being ugly and intrusive, many ads invade users’ privacy. Now they can a kick up in Internet prices and environmental impact to their side of the debate.

H/T Tech Week Europe | Illustration by Max Fleishman

Patrick Howell O'Neill

Patrick Howell O'Neill

Patrick Howell O'Neill is a notable cybersecurity reporter whose work has focused on the dark net, national security, and law enforcement. A former senior writer at the Daily Dot, O'Neill joined CyberScoop in October 2016. I am a cybersecurity journalist at CyberScoop. I cover the security industry, national security and law enforcement.