A Privacy Pledge for a Better Internet
21 September 2022
We need an internet that puts people first again. Together with 11 other organisations we created and signed a Privacy Pledge that expresses our commitment to realising a more private internet.
The internet is for everyone. Given a chance and knowing good options, surveys have shown >90% of people would switch to a company that prioritizes their privacy. It’s already happening with hundreds of millions of people choosing to take control of their lives, and to protect their privacy. Using privacy-focused tech services that, like Mojeek, put people first.
Big Tech is ramping up its lobbying and projects that amount to privacy-washing. They see your personal data as a huge strategic asset. We see personal data as personal. We don’t want to know who you are. You are all equal and yet unique, and so are entitled to the human right of privacy. This is why we’ve joined Proton and 10 other organisations in signing the Privacy Pledge, a set of standards we believe all companies and organizations should hold themselves to if we’re going to build a better internet where privacy is the default.
The Privacy Pledge isn’t meant to promote a particular service or endorse a particular piece of legislation. Its goal is to elevate fundamental principles that will guide us toward a private-by-default internet. If you look at this pledge, you can see which companies are willing to protect your privacy and how they’re working toward giving you control of your data. And in our case, maintaining our position of not tracking, which we first declared in 2006.
Together we are at the forefront of a growing movement of privacy-focused companies that lets you choose what happens to your data. We developed Mojeek as a completely independent web search engine with no tracking, and it is used by people all across the world. We are part of the paradigm shift that is occurring and creating a new way of life online.
The internet, then and now
In 1989, Sir Tim Berners-Lee created what would go on to become the World Wide Web while he was working at CERN. Proton who join us in this pledge also grew out of CERN. Our CEO, Colin Hayhurst, coincidentally previously worked on several projects with CERN. The web was originally intended to make it easier for scientists and universities around the world to communicate, compare results, and share resources. CERN later made the WWW software available on an open license to encourage even more people to communicate and share with each other.
Fast forward to the present, and the internet looks much different. It’s now a space currently dominated by a handful of Big Tech corporations that monitor and collect our every move, thought, and opinion so they can use that data to sell ads, and to influence our behaviour. This addiction to personal data has stripped us of our rights. But together we will restore them.
The Privacy Pledge
You have made it clear you want an internet that is private by default and gives you the choice over what happens to your personal data. We created the Privacy Pledge to show innovators in the privacy sphere, tech companies, organizations, and governments worldwide what is necessary to make that internet a reality. We want you to see that there are companies willing to give you control over your data, and we want to show other companies that doing so is both possible and profitable.
The Privacy Pledge has five principles:
- The internet should be built to serve people
- Organizations should only collect data that’s necessary for them to prevent abuse and deliver their services
- People’s data should be securely encrypted
- Online organizations should be transparent about their identity and software
- Web services should be interoperable.
The power of collective action
We launched the Privacy Pledge in response to the public demand for an internet that gives you control of your privacy. We believe that if more companies hold themselves to these standards, the internet will once again serve people and not Big Tech. It will be more open and more accessible for everyone. And it will support democratic values, free access to information, and the fundamental right to privacy.
This is not an easy undertaking. We’re going up against some of the most influential companies in history, and they won’t let go of their power easily. Only through collective action, working with like-minded organizations and privacy-conscious people all over the world, can we make this change that the internet so desperately needs.
21 September 2022