When you install AdBlock for the first time, your browser may show you a notification like this: "AdBlock can read, modify, and transmit content from all web pages. This could include sensitive information like passwords, phone numbers, and credit cards." Although the exact wording depends on which browser you use, the warnings all sound scary for a reason. You should be aware of what the extensions you install can do.
To understand this permission, it’s important to know that ad blockers work by first blocking a web page's requests to download ads from the servers that host them, and second, by hiding any ads that can't be blocked.
To do that, the extension needs to:
- See every page you open so that AdBlock can work on every page you visit. This also means that AdBlock knows the URL of every page you visit.
- See all the data on the page to find any unblocked ads among the other content. This also means that AdBlock can see any forms you submit and your browsing history on that tab.
Granting "Webpage Contents" permission allows all versions of AdBlock (like all ad blockers in general) to hide ads if they can't be blocked. To hide an ad, we change the webpage code so that it doesn't display downloaded ads.
Most versions of AdBlock also change the page code to display the allowlisting option on request. In the Mac app this is handled by the AdBlock Icon extension, which opens the AdBlock settings menu in Safari and requires "Webpage Contents" permission.
Bottom line: AdBlock does not record your browsing history, capture any data you enter in any web forms, or change any data you submit on a web form.
We do collect some information to make AdBlock a better ad blocking extension and it's important to us to keep that information to a minimum. Here's what we do collect:
Information associated with a unique userID
Most of the data we collect is about your browser and how you use AdBlock, and is tied to a unique userID that is randomly generated when you install AdBlock, not to you personally. For instance, we know this userID opened AdBlock's /installed page at this time, or that userID opened the AdBlock menu at that time. We use this information to make AdBlock better.
When you visit the AdBlock website we collect IP address, unique ID, logging of some of the button clicks on our website (clicking download, for example) and user event logging data. When the AdBlock extension communicates with AdBlock servers, we receive the computer’s IP address.
We know more about you personally if you have paid for AdBlock.
When you donate from the AdBlock website, we collect and store all information, excluding the credit card number, given during the payment process. This includes IP address, unique ID, logging some of the button clicks (payment, download buttons) and user event logging. AdBlock does not handle or have access to full credit card numbers, bank account details or payment account login information. Each payment processor stores and uses the data you provide them differently.
We do not target or sell any of the data we collect, personally identifiable or not. Selling user data goes against everything we stand for as a company. And after a certain length of time, we obfuscate all personally identifiable information in our logs, making all the data we have completely anonymous.
We get statistics from Google Analytics and the AdBlock extension, such as the language your browser is set to and the country you're in. None of that information is personally identifiable.
The AdBlock extension captures anonymous usage information including, but not limited to, the version number of the extension, preferred language, Acceptable Ads opt-in, opt-in to advanced features like our local content caching service, number of blocked requests, number of ads blocked, and browser and operating system type. The AdBlock extension also assigns an anonymous, unique ID to each installation. We store this information on AdBlock servers and we utilize this information to help us identify and fix potential issues with AdBlock as well as to determine the performance of AdBlock features.
If you want to prevent us from seeing the data we get from Google Analytics, you can subscribe to the EasyPrivacy filter list in AdBlock's options.
If you provide debugging information as part of troubleshooting an issue, AdBlock tells us your operating system version, which browser you're using and its version, how long it's been since you installed AdBlock, which version of AdBlock you're using, which options you have enabled, which filter lists you're subscribed to, any custom filters you've added, and (if you give us permission to collect it) which extensions you have installed and whether they're enabled.
You can read this information yourself to see what you're giving us. Open AdBlock's options and on the Support tab, click the "Copy debug data". Your debug data will display and you're welcome to edit any information you don't want to share.
If you have enabled the option to Allow AdBlock to collect anonymous filter list usage and data, we get a subset of the same data that's contained in the debugging information without your having to send it to us.