Chrome Will Limit Ad Blockers to Enterprise Users; 70% of Hulu Users Opt For Cheaper Ad-Supported Plan; Big Tech Firms Pan Brit ‘Ghost Protocol’ Plan; DOJ May let T-Mobile & Sprint Merge-BUT Create New Competitor

A lot of us use ad blockers of one type or another…typically, a plug in extension for whatever browser we are using. The first of the year, Google had announced a proposed change to Chrome’s extension which they dubbed Manifest V3 that would stop current ad blockers from working efficiently. After massive negative feedback, 9to5google.com reports that Google has backtracked a bit…they will allow the current ad blocking capabilities for enterprise users. The rest of us get to suck it…at least until developers figure out a work around to block ads in Chrome anyway. Not a totally unexpected position from Google, which makes the vast majority of their cash on serving ads and collecting data with which to better target and serve ads.

People have never loved ads, but apparently if the price is cheap enough (or free, in the case of radio or over the air TV), they will put up with a certain amount of them. According to variety.com, Hulu reports that 70% of their 82 million viewers opt for the ad supported plan at $5.99 a month. Hulu offers and ad free version, like Netflix, but it runs $11.99 per month. Hulu has 28 million customer accounts, so the 82 million viewers means they average 2.9 viewers per Hulu account. Hulu reports pulling down almost 1.5 billion in ad revenue in 2018. Hulu says they plan to keep breaks to 90 seconds.

Britain’s Government Communications HQ has proposed a plan for a ‘ghost protocol,’ which would mean encrypted messages like on WhatsApp would have to send a copy of the message to a third recipient at the same time as sending it to its intended recipient. CNBC.com reports that 47 tech firms, including Apple, Google, and WhatsApp have jointly urged the GCHQ to give up this ideal. The tech giants claim the ghost protocol would be a ‘serious threat’ to not only digital security but to fundamental human rights. The Brit agency claims the ghost recipient would enable law enforcement to access end-to-end encrypted communications without undermining the privacy, security, or confidence of other users. If you believe that, I have a big, orange bridge North of San Francisco to sell you!

The US Department of Justice will approve a deal for T-Mobile and Sprint to merge, BUT will demand they form a new, competing wireless carrier as part of the deal. According to cnet.com, after merger, the new company would be nearly as large as AT&T and Verizon, and the DOJ is concerned about the fact that those two already dominate 70% of the wireless market. T-Mobile had already agreed to build out requirements to ensure 5G deployment in rural areas, and a promise to offer a wireless home broadband solution that could be a wireline substitute…in addition to divesting their prepaid brand Boost Mobile. No comment from either T-Mobile or Sprint thus far.

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