‘Perceptual Ad Blocker’ Research at Stanford and Princeton Offering ‘Undefeatable’ Solution

Well now. Looks like researchers at Stanford and Princeton are developing an  ‘undefeatable’ ad blocker. And they are taking it out for a test run on Chrome.

The new tech is different in that it treats ads the same way we do, by looking at it and deciding how to react. Current technology for ad-blockers scans a page’s source code looking for signs that there might be an ad and then zaps it.

The new tech can sidestep HTML head fakes purports its developers. Dubbed “Perceptual Ad Blocker,” co-creator Arvind Narayanan, has high hopes for the Perceptual Ad Blocker’.


Most previous discussions have assumed that this is a cat-and-mouse game that will escalate indefinitely. But in a new paper, accompanied by proof-of-concept code, we challenge this claim. We believe that due to the architecture of web browsers, there’s an inherent asymmetry that favors users and ad blockers.

We have devised and prototyped several ad blocking techniques that work radically differently from current ones. We don’t claim to have created an undefeatable ad blocker, but we identify an evolving combination of technical and legal factors that will determine the “end game” of the arms race.

Someone in the Princeton or Stanford advertising departments might want to tiptoe over there and foil the efforts?

It is currently being tested as a Chrome extension which you can get here.

Bobby McGill

Bobby McGill

Bobby is the founder and publisher of Branding in Asia.

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