Ad blockers are a smart way to ensure that your data remains secure and that malicious participants do not collect sensitive information about you that can then be sold to third parties. They are quite popular these days and now seem to be used by US intelligence agencies.
Motherboard announced this week on new letter from Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden sent to the Office for Management and Budget (OMB) which outlines some of the federal agencies, such as the NSA and the CIA, using ad blocking technology and asking all other agencies to do the same.
“I have forced successive administrations to respond more appropriately to surveillance threats, including from foreign governments and criminals who use online advertising to hack federal systems,” Wyden wrote.
He also warns that companies that deliver online ads also collect huge amounts of data to their users, some of which can be quite harmful if used maliciously. He also outlines how the NSA issued[[“>public guidance urging its ranks to block “unnecessary advertising web content” in 2018.
In January 2021, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) published similar public guidance to federal agencies, adds Wyden. This guidance was meant to protect against both “malicious advertisements and data collection by third parties.”
To some, these measures might seem a bit far-fetched. After all, aren’t ads a viable source of income for some companies? But if you consider the likes of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, you can see that there is much to be worried about.
Wyden also outlines how data collected from online advertising can be “offered for sale to anyone with a credit card” and we have seen this happen in the past. It seems the intelligence community is now finally catching up to this threat and actively seeking out ways to protect itself.