Absolutely not, not according to the law, to ethics, or to the Vinaya.
On the contrary, I would argue that each of us has a moral imperative to use ad-blockers.
The advertising industry, especially through its dominance of the internet, is bad for humanity. Its basic purpose is to fuel desire, which drives greed, consumption, and the destruction of the planet.
Ads themselves, quite apart from their effects, directly contribute to global warming, using roughly 10% of the energy on the internet. In 2016 the CO2 emissions of ads was estimated at 60 megatonnes. That’s 60,000,000,000kg of CO2.
Moreover, the advertising industry has led the way in creating a global surveillance network, collecting industrial quantities of data on everyone and selling it to the highest bidder. Apart from the obvious creep factor, this threatens democracy and human rights.
While sites will ask you to support their little venture by enabling ads, the reality is that for all the money in advertising (projected to top US$600B this year), the vast bulk ends up in the pockets of huge corporations. Google and Facebook between them make up 60% of internet ads in the US, with Google alone raking in over $30B in profit for ads. (Graphic below)
The corrosive effects of online advertising were understood by 1998:
In general, it could be argued from the consumer point of view that the better the search engine is, the fewer advertisements will be needed … the issue of advertising causes enough mixed incentives that it is crucial to have a competitive search engine that is transparent and in the academic realm.
That’s the words of Sergey Brin and Lawrence Page in their seminal paper for Stanford outlining their vision for Google.
Perhaps the greatest harm of online advertising, however, is that it is so retrograde and just plain bad. It encourages the worst of human nature. So long as companies rely on ads, there is no incentive to find a better way. The tech industry prides itself on being innovative. The whole shtick of neoliberalism is that capitalism provides for the efficient allocating of resources. But online advertising is neither efficient nor innovative.
From the time the Xanadu project started in 1960 there has been a dream of an interconnected web of information, with an ability to provide efficient payments for content creators. Instead, we have this firehose of shit: hostile, ugly, creepy, unusable. It treats all of us not as human beings, or even as customers, but as marks to be exploited and used.
Do the world a favor, get an ad-blocker. And while you’re at it, Privacy Badger.