A group of tech companies with a history of protecting user privacy is calling for a ban on “surveillance-based advertising.”
Mojeek, along with DuckDuckGo, Ecosia, StartPage, Fastmail, Proton Technologies and others have written a letter calling on the US, UK, EU and Australia to take action against the dominant form of online advertising. Mojeek is a UK-based search engine that has not tracked users since its inception, and holds the distinction of being the first privacy-oriented search engine. Similarly, the other companies on the list have a long history of protecting user privacy.
The companies make the case in their open letter that surveillance advertising, commonly called “personalization,” is a threat to consumers, businesses and democracies. The companies also stand as examples that prove it’s possible to build a profitable business without exploiting consumers.
We are a group of businesses who write to you today to show our support to this initiative. We represent small, medium and large businesses who all believe -and demonstrate on a daily basis -that it is possible to run profitable companies without exploiting the privacy of individuals.
The companies emphasize they are not anti-advertising, they simply want the industry to use technologies and methods that don’t involve invading the privacy of users.
Although we recognize that advertising is an important source of revenue for content creators and publishers online, this does not justify the massive commercial surveillance systems set up in attempts to “show the right ad to the right people”.
Other forms of advertising technologies exist, which do not depend on spying on consumers, and alternative models can be implemented without significantly affecting revenue. On the contrary – and that we can attest to – businesses can thrive without privacy-invasive practices.