So I use a network wide ad-blocker at home. This means that when I use various services that rely on advertising to make money, I am bypassing the ads that they deliver to me.
So for example, if I use the Guardian newspaper app (I don’t have a subscription, so I am not entitled to an ad free experience), I get a blank space where there would normally be an advertisement. This greatly increases my enjoyment of the internet - I get more of what I’ve come for (articles) and less of the extraneous bits (ads) that I don’t want to see.
Now if I’m bypassing the adverts then someone must be loosing out right? I assume that they would very much prefer that I didn’t subvert their business model by using the ad blocker. My justification had always been that it’s my network, I pay for the bandwidth coming into my house and I can do what I like with it. If anything the companies are stealing my bandwidth by embedding advertising into their pages, so I’m entitled to strip them out.
But I’m now thinking that they are offering one thing on the condition that I also take something else, and I’m subverting their original offering.
So my questions are:
When I use an ad-blocker am I stealing?
Is there anything in the suttas that might be used to understand this modern phenomena from an ethical point of view?
Is there a problem with this ‘cherry-picking’ approach to the world when it comes to practice?