Privacy is not just a personal matter


  • Vivaldi Team

    The loss of our privacy is a loss for society and democracy. In a surveillance society, the impact of data collection is not just personal because collective privacy is lost too.

    Click here to see the full blog post


  • Moderator

    Would we have to start paying for services?

    I hate ads, though not as much as I despise tracking. I would happily pay a small fee to companies for use of their service if it meant I didn't have to use either (a fee which would likely be more than they would get just from ad revenue).

    Is it too late to do anything?

    A bigger issue, in my mind, than just lobbying my government representatives is getting those people I know who are not technically minded to care about this. I mention (probably too often) about how companies can track you, particularly with Facebook's recent move to try and unify it's various messaging services. The overwhelming opinion seems to be "I feel like that's a bad thing, but I don't really care".

    How do you go about convincing the vox pop that tracking as a business model is a bad thing? Because without that, and the large voice it will bring, there isn't really any way you will convince government to tighten regulation.


  • Ambassador

    The loss of privacy is undoubtedly a serious matter.
    I have an account on Google and joined GMail GDrive and YouTube.
    Use GDrive to back some documents and drafts that are not very confidential, use GMail for emails that can not be used to find out intimate things (for private things use Protonmail and Tutanota), YouTube, well, I do not care if they know my musical tastes they cover practically any genre. G + anyway will close soon and I avoid Facebook and Twitter like the plague and of course I do not use Google as my search engine.
    that the big companies not only have direct data, but also the metadata that results from them, for this reason I have always tried to leave traces as fuzzy as possible about my personal data, preferences, political ideas, etc. and from what I could see in the Google profile, apart from my not too approximate location, the other data that they have in parts does not come close to reality.
    Now, the companies are almighty and they have even managed to get people to sell posters without being paid, with great Nike logos and others wearing their shirts and shoes and paying dearly for showing off, they adored Steve Jobs , as a business genius and does not remember the true genius of Wozniak, queuing for hours to get the latest iPhone for a monthly salary, to post on Facebook until when they go to piss.
    This blind consumption is naturally taken advantage of by companies, treating the user, as this, like the battery they show in the movie Matrix.
    He does not realize that this 'tutela' and surveillance by companies and surveillance cameras in any equine in the city is at the same time a loss of freedoms and basic rights.
    Unfortunately we are already in a surveillance structure where it is not easy to leave, you can only limit the damage and concentrate on what is really important instead of this wild consumerism that resembles a drug addiction.



  • If you are not paying for it - You are the product.

    Great post Jon, and these posts build my faith in Vivaldi - that you guys are fighting for the users' privacy and right to choose.

    But what will happen if Vivaldi ever get "big"? After all, it still is free - and free means income needs to come from advertising in some way or another, for instance getting paid by companies to place their sites in bookmarks/dial, which Vivaldi already does. And they need to document to these companies how many users they have that will see these "ads". Basically we are already part of the product.

    Honestly I'd rather pay $20/year to use a great browser free of advertisement, that I can trust will not sell my data or get bought out by some Chinese giant to "streamline". I paid for Opera for years, and would for Vivaldi too.

    Back in 2006 I got Gmail, and after that jumped on the Google Bandwagon wholeheartedly. Then I got an Android phone which of course forces you to connect your Google account.

    Now I feel like I'm locked in to the Google infrastructure, and it will be a lot of effort to extract myself from there. What alternatives can I use to extract myself from the free, fast and useful services they provide? Maybe I can find services like NextCloud to store my data, or replace my primary email with Vivaldi or the others I have. It will be a lot of effort for sure, but I am seriously thinking about just dumping the whole Google thing and never looking back.



  • Some sites have to many ads or some broken ads (they make a browser start eating a lot of CPU). To many ads can add to the time it takes to load a page. And each ad may have its own privacy issue. The amount of data that is collected and then stored also puts these companies at risk of being targets for hackers.


  • Moderator

    Great text Jon, showing the data protection importance.



  • Hopefully due to synchronicity and not some filter bubble, Iā€™d just finished reading an article similarly arguing that a policy change would fix things:

    GDPR and its logic gives users a good starting point for negotiating the new power balance in data-driven industry.
    But what will make further transactions possible in the future is building trust.
    As long as we treat data brokers and marketers as the enemy and they treat us as an exploitable resource, there is no space for open conversation.


  • Vivaldi Team

    @dantesoft: Actually what he says is very different from my views. My problem is not that the data collected on us is not accurate enough. My problem is that the data is collected in the first place. I believe that this kind of surveillance should be illegal and building detailed profiles on us that can be traded should be illegal. His concern is that they are not accurate enough.


  • Vivaldi Team

    @ozoratsubasa: Thanks. We need to take this problem seriously as a society.


  • Vivaldi Team

    @pathduck: Thank you for your kind words. Vivaldi is owned by the employees. We do not have outside investors and we do not intent to go public either. Our focus is on what you need as a user.

    Yes we provide default bookmarks, that generate revenues for us and we also include search engines. We try to include good choices there, such as DuckDuckGo and Qwant. As long as you are using the Internet you will want to use services like that, so there is no big difference with regards to whether we include some services or not. The important thing, IMHO, is to have clear rules what can and can not be done with user data and what can be collected. We have chosen not to collect usage data our selves, besides just to be able to count the number of users we have.

    Our aim is to continue to work for privacy and gradually add privacy features. We are making a browser for you, our friends, and we believe one should not spy on ones friends and one should try to keep you safe as well!

    Have a nice day!
    Jon.


  • Ambassador

    @jon said in Privacy is not just a personal matter:

    @pathduck: Thank you for your kind words. Vivaldi is owned by the employees. We do not have outside investors and we do not intent to go public either. Our focus is on what you need as a user.

    Yes we provide default bookmarks, that generate revenues for us and we also include search engines. We try to include good choices there, such as DuckDuckGo and Qwant. As long as you are using the Internet you will want to use services like that, so there is no big difference with regards to whether we include some services or not. The important thing, IMHO, is to have clear rules what can and can not be done with user data and what can be collected. We have chosen not to collect usage data our selves, besides just to be able to count the number of users we have.

    Our aim is to continue to work for privacy and gradually add privacy features. We are making a browser for you, our friends, and we believe one should not spy on ones friends and one should try to keep you safe as well!

    Have a nice day!
    Jon.

    Personally I have no doubt about the intention of the Vivalditeam to protect the privacy of the user. That the team naturally has the need to eat from time to time, an absolutely legitimate way to make money with companies whose users and bookmarks are by default in the browser, since this depends on the user the degree of privacy, using or discarding them .
    Merchanidizing is also a valid way.
    I currently participate in MeWe, which also works by offering themes and others to earn money, instead of selling the user's data and completely disregard ads and crawlers (it is one of the few websites where both the nanoAdblocker and the Privacy Badger they discover absolutely nothing).
    PD Maybe also for Vivaldi is a good social network where it can publish, since G + is about to close and MeWe is what also in its most similar format (Groups, collections, chat and more)


  • Vivaldi Team

    @catweazle: We do intent to continue to develop Vivaldi.net based on your needs. It is maybe not so much a social network, but it is a place where you can blog and the forums are good for discussions. We also offer free webmail and calendar and all of this is both free and ad free and we are not analyzing your information either to build ad profiles. The basic idea is that we will be making enough from the included bookmarks and search (about $1 pr year) to pay for these other services as well. Of course we need to earn enough to pay the bills, but we believe we can do that and still do the right thing.


  • Ambassador

    @jon said in Privacy is not just a personal matter:

    @catweazle: We do intent to continue to develop Vivaldi.net based on your needs. It is maybe not so much a social network, but it is a place where you can blog and the forums are good for discussions. We also offer free webmail and calendar and all of this is both free and ad free and we are not analyzing your information either to build ad profiles. The basic idea is that we will be making enough from the included bookmarks and search (about $1 pr year) to pay for these other services as well. Of course we need to earn enough to pay the bills, but we believe we can do that and still do the right thing.

    Thanks Jon, I am aware of these efforts and I mentioned the social network to spread Vivaldi, not only for the user.
    Vivaldi currently has an account in G + and probably on Twitter (I do not know it because I do not have an account on Twitter or FB) to present the news to those who do not know this great browser. But G + has already announced the closure and for this I have mentioned MeWe as a possible alternative.



  • @jon Thanks for your reply. Just to be clear, I don't mind the adding of default bookmarks and search engines. In fact I think they are mostly good, at least Ecosia, Quant and DuckDuckGo are great.

    I was mostly making a general observation on how it's easy to start out as idealists, maybe harder to keep it up in the long run. I'm sure Google and Facebook also started with good intentions ... well, maybe not Facebook šŸ¤‘

    It's a probably a good thing you are not a Silicon Valley company, as startups there seem to have a really hard time avoiding the temptation of easy money from VCs and IPOs.

    What you are doing Vivaldi is truly amazing, keep fighting the good fight! šŸ‘


  • Moderator

    @Pathduck said in Privacy is not just a personal matter:

    maybe harder to keep it up in the long run.

    Hopefully due to the economy of scale, as more people install the browser, Vivaldi should get even more income as more users find it.


  • Vivaldi Team

    @lonm: That is the point. We need a bit more users to break even, but we are well on the way and we believe that we can continue to provide a web browser and service that is all about your needs and nothing else.

    @Pathduck: I think those that followed Opera know that we stayed on the straight and narrow during my time at the company. We grew from a staff of 2 to 750 with offices in 12 countries, but I believe we continued to listen to our users all the time and we did not misuse user data. Only after I left Opera did the focus change. This time, to avoid what happened at Opera happening again, we are not having any external funding and just keeping the company in the hands of the staff. Thus we will stay on the straight and narrow and just focus on what your needs are. Our aim is to continue to expand the feature set of Vivaldi, while optimizing for your wants, while also continuing to expand and improve the services we provide on Vivaldi.net.


  • Vivaldi Team

    @moondawg: Thanks for your support. It is fun when we build things together. šŸ™‚


  • Ambassador

    Well said!
    Having recently moved I now get messages from the Google security team warning me of a possible hack on my account. Of course they're tracking me!
    The tracking abilities of these companies has now surpassed anything my good friend George Orwell would have thought of when writing his famous novel. There are data aggregating companies that have even more of our data that is bought from banks, credit card companies, insurance companies, telephone exchanges, internet providers... the list goes on and on. Then they resell it to the same types of companies. And they were doing it long before the internet came along.

    We as internet consumers must be wary and ever vigilant about what information is asked for and what we are willing to provide.

    As you say, and I agreed in the '90s: "I have always believed that access to the Internet and to the information available there is good for society."
    But knowledge is power and whoever knows most about the other has the most power and get can get an awful lot of power scraping social media.



  • @jon: I remember paying for Opera in the past. I think initially it was paid, then they experimented with a free version that was ad supported (you saw ads on the top) and you could remove them by paying the upgrade and then finally it became completely free.

    Iā€™m not saying Vivaldi should be paid, but I do believe a special upgraded version that is entirely optional for powers users with some extra features&services would absolutely work as a paid model.

    The reason is that some people might upgrade just to support Vivaldi and others because having a paid browser would be just cool over another freemium model.



  • @terere: With the number of free browsers available, I'm not convinced at all that users would find it "just cool" to have a paid model. Any willing to pay would most likely be be just a small minority.


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