A group of 12 organizations have come together to lay the groundwork for what they describe as an “alternative internet” to that controlled by big tech companies, outlining a set of principles for building a privacy-focused internet for good. audience.
The Privacy Pledge has been signed by various well-known developers of privacy-centric services, such as web browser operators Brave and the Tor Project, mobile search and web browser Neeva, and secure messaging solutions Proton and Tutanota.
The group says the five key principles contained in the Privacy Pledge, which does not endorse or reflect any specific public policy or technological tool, will serve as a starting point for restoring the Internet to the original vision of its creators – that of an open, democratic and private platform that facilitates the free exchange of information, open communication and individual privacy, in opposition to the regressive attitudes of big tech and surveillance capitalism.
The action comes as a growing wave of ordinary internet users are turning away from services controlled by Google and Meta, and governments around the world are considering tougher online privacy laws. As such, the signatories believe it is important that the private sector take the lead in leading towards a private Internet.
Andy Yen, founder and CEO of Proton, said it was clear the internet was no longer working for the benefit of ordinary users.
“What was once a shining light for the free exchange of information, the democratization of knowledge, has become a tool for the powerful. Giant corporations regularly monetize our privacy while trying to sell us a false commitment to protect our privacy. But there is another way,” he said.
“Companies, like those who have signed this pledge, are offering a private alternative to the status quo. By holding ourselves to higher ideals, we believe we can lead by example for other innovators and provide users with true privacy. By working together, we can restore the Internet to what it was meant to be.
Sridhar Ramaswamy, CEO and Co-Founder of Neeva, added: “For too long big tech has exploited consumer data, abused market share, taxed small businesses and stifled competition to remain the most powerful gatekeepers. from all of our online experience. The “free” Internet model came at a high price; we pay for it with our attention and our intimacy. Consumers deserve more choice of services that put user privacy first. »
“In today’s Internet, people are giving up their right to privacy by agreeing to unread terms and clicking on privacy warnings,” said Tutanota CEO Arne Möhle.
“The reason is simple: we learned that this is how the Internet works. We’ve been trained to hate clicks. We have been trained to hate reading terms. But big tech uses this attitude against us. The Internet we have today is fast, easy, and the enemy of all things private. That’s why we launched the Privacy Pledge with other privacy-conscious companies. Because a better Internet is possible.
The five principles are stated as follows:
- The Internet, above all, should be designed to serve people. This means that it respects fundamental human rights, is accessible to all and allows the free flow of information. Businesses need to operate in such a way that user needs always come first.
- Organizations should only collect the data they need to prevent abuse and ensure the basic operation of their services. They should receive the consent of the people to collect this data. Likewise, people should be able to easily find a clear explanation of what data will be collected, what will be done with it, where it will be stored, for how long it will be stored, and what they can do. to have them removed. Because organizations need to collect information, they should use data management practices that prioritize user privacy.
- People’s data should be securely encrypted in transit and at rest whenever possible to prevent mass surveillance and reduce damage from hacks and data leaks.
- Online organizations need to be transparent about their identity and software. They should be clear about who makes up their management team, where they are headquartered, and under which legal jurisdiction they fall. Their software should be open source whenever possible and open to audits by the security community.
- Web services should be interoperable to the extent that interoperability does not require unnecessary data collection or compromise secure encryption. This prevents the creation of walled gardens and creates an open and competitive space that fosters innovation.
The current list of signatories includes:
- Data rights activist, educator and subject of Netflix The Great Hackteacher David Carroll.
- MailFence encrypted email service.
- Search engine without Mojeek tracker.
- Never will.
- Open-Xchange open messaging platform provider.
- OpenMedia Non-Profit Digital Rights.
- The Tor Project.
- Threema secure chat app.
- And the ad-free, privacy-focused You.com search engine.
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