Privacy Pledge signatories dream of alternative internet – ComputerWeekly.com

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A group of 12 organisations have come together to lay the groundwork for what they describe as an “alternative internet” to that controlled by large technology corporations, outlining a set of principles for building a privacy-focused internet for the public good.
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 email solutions Proton and Tutanota.
The group says that 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 to restore the internet back 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 web users switches away from services controlled by the likes of Google and Meta, and as governments around the world consider adopting tighter online privacy laws. As such, the signatories believe it is important that the private sector takes the initiative to lead toward a private internet.
Andy Yen, founder and CEO of Proton, said it was clear the internet was no longer working in the interests of ordinary users.
“What was once a shining light for the free exchange of information, the democratisation of knowledge, has become a tool for the powerful. Giant corporations routinely monetise our private lives while trying to sell us a false commitment to protect our privacy. But there is another way,” he said.
“Companies, like those that have signed this pledge, are putting forward a private alternative to the status quo. By holding ourselves to higher ideals, we believe we can set an example to other innovators and offer users genuine privacy. By working together, we can return the internet to what it was supposed 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 to our entire online experience. The ‘free’ internet model has come at a steep price; we pay for it with our attention and our privacy. Consumers deserve greater choice in services that put user privacy first.”
“In today’s internet, people sign away their right to privacy by agreeing to unread terms and clicking away privacy warnings,” said Tutanota CEO Arne Möhle.
“The reason for this is simple: we have learned that that’s just how the internet works. We were trained to hate clicks. We were trained to hate reading terms. But big tech uses this attitude against us. The internet we have today is quick, easy, and the enemy to all things private. This is why we have launched the Privacy Pledge along with other privacy-first companies. Because a better internet is possible.”
The five principles are set out as follows:
The current list of signatories includes:

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