AdBlock Plus (or its more anti-ad replacement TrueBlock Plus
) should be installed by default.
The extension should ship subscribed to EasyPrivacy+EasyList, Fanboy's List, Fanboy's [International] Tracking/Stats Blocking, Adversity, and Adversity Privacy List. If AdBlock Plus is used, the allow non-intrusive advertising setting should be disabled
Ghostery should also ship by default, set for script blocking and tracking cookie blocking.
Internet advertising has become a plague. Advertisers deluge users with a tsunami of annoying garbage, slowing down our machines, wasting system resources, and increasing energy consumption in the process.
To deliver this advertising, marketroids deploy highly intrusive user tracking and profiling technology, collecting deeply personal information about users, to be used against them, and later resold to additional marketroids.
Advertising is not for the benefit of the user. It trespasses onto our systems. More people don't push back against it because of the hassle, apathy, or lack of technical know-how.
When these ad blocking technologies are not installed, many people must go through the additional steps of installing and configuring them, which is about a ten minute process.
If they were to ship by default, a small number of people would uninstall them, a process which takes about thirty seconds.
I firmly believe that a greater number people will choose to install them if they are not shipped by default than would choose to uninstall them if shipped by default. That, along with the time disparity, favors a default installation.
As a user-centered distribution, purging advertising by default makes sense, saves time, and enhances the user experience.
It is easy enough to include these in the Firefox package.
If people want to be assaulted by advertising, then that is their choice, but like junk email, it should be an OPT-IN
choice. Having to opt-out of advertising and tracking is an anti-user position.
Advertising is also a vector for malware. Advertising is used by criminals to distribute browser exploits, often by malicious Flash files, or conditional redirects to exploit-containing PDF documents. Blocking it by default enhances the security of systems.
More aggressive advertising control methods like NoScript, RequestPolicy, or a hosts file would create confusion and problems. Non-technical users can't easily diagnose and work around these like they can with adding a site-specific whitelisting in ABP. An ad blocker along with Ghostery presents no such problems.