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French government tells ISP to stop installing ad-blocking software on its modems

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Freebox Server Free France
Freebox Server Free France

The French government has told an ISP to stop enabling ad blocking on its modems, The New York Times reports. Major ISP Free had enabled ad blocking by default with a firmware update, apparently somewhat inconsistently removing banner ads and Google AdWords across France. Now, French minister for the digital economy Fleur Pellerin has apparently convinced the ISP to remove the software, saying that ISPs shouldn't alter consumers' internet traffic even for ads.

"An Internet service provider cannot unilaterally implement such blocking," Pellerin said in a press conference. "This kind of blocking is inconsistent with a free and open Internet, to which I am very attached." Because of the ad blocker's inconsistency, some have speculated that it was specifically meant to punish Google — especially because France is currently investigating Free for possibly limiting traffic to YouTube. Either way, it's an example of how complicated the relationship between ISPs, content providers, and consumers can get.