Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the WWW
Over 28 years ago, Sir Tim Berners-Lee submitted his original proposal for the world wide web. He envisioned it as an open platform that would allow people all over the world to share information, access opportunities and collaborate.
Berners-Lee outlines his three serious challenges he believes “…we must tackle in order for the web to fulfill its true potential as a tool which serves all of humanity.”
1. Loss of control
Companies and governments are going to far by increasingly watching our every move online, and passing extreme laws that invade our privacy rights. As our data is then held in proprietary silos that we can’t access, we lose out on the benefits we could realize if we had direct control over this data, and chose when and with whom to share it.
2. Information spreads
Nowadays, social media sites and search engines are information lifelines. In fact, these sites make more money when we click on the links they show us, so they choose what to show us based on algorithms which learn from our personal data that they are constantly accumulating. The outcome is usually misinformation, or ‘fake news’, which is surprising, shocking, or designed to appeal to our tendencies.
3. Online political advertising
Democracy is being questioned with online political advertising. The fact that most people get their information from just a few platforms and the increasing sophistication of algorithms drawing upon rich pools of personal data, means that political campaigns are now building individual adverts targeted directly at users.
Read the in-depth essay from Berners-Lee on the World Wide Web Foundation
UR prides itself giving people back the control over their online privacy. Learn more about UR’s privacy features.
The Obama-era is over and the future of privacy is getting even murkier. This past Monday, President Trump signed a repeal of online privacy protections established by the Federal Communications Commission (FFC) under the Obama Administration.
Internet providers now have a much larger scope than consumers with the way they share or sell customers’ browsing history for advertising purposes. This data stream is a sacred vessel for advertisers because it allows them to build much richer profiles on consumers so that they can better target ads.
Read more here The Verge
Less than a year after our beta release, we are thrilled to announce that UR has been downloaded more than one million times!
The UR Team and Nounours (Teddy) celebrate 1 million downloads at our Paris headquarters.
In June 2016, we released UR in an open beta. Nearly ten different countries, in Europe and South America, spread the word about the small and determined team behind UR that wanted to go up against the internet giants.
We began to receive lots of feedback via email, social media and in person. Many of you expressed the unsettling feelings you had in trusting your data with the giant corporations that dominate the internet ecosystem.
Since last June, we have listened to feedback, re-evaluated the market and trusted our gut. One thing is for certain: you, internet users, are very concerned about privacy and security. So are we.
With several features already in place focused on these concerns (Shield, VPN, AdControl), we made the decision to further develop these features and create new ones to keep your data safe and private.
And so, less than a year later, UR has reached one million downloads! There is still work to be done, but as we continue on this path, we know it’s the right one. Our focus is, and always will be, giving you the right to control your data online.
You deserve to tell your story. Not your data.
We have a large update coming soon that will give you even more tools to control how your data is (or isn’t!) used online. Everyone at UR thanks you for your continued support!
Download the UR beta to protect your data and to support us!
UR Protects You in Three Ways:
Focusing on three axes—security, anti-tracking and anti-profiling—we explain how UR protects your privacy and keeps you safe online.
Corporations can now compile and analyze unprecedented volumes of unstructured data created by humans, such as the text contained in company documents, email, instant messaging, and social media. This poses the question one of the greatest ethical challenges of our time: how we use or abuse digital technologies and the data they generate.
What happens to this data, and can it be used against us?
Read more at the Harvard Business Review
Be prepared when traveling
If you are traveling through the US border, you may be subjected to an invasive device search. This is beginning to raise questions amongst those who want to protect the private data on our computers, phones, and other digital devices.
On these grounds, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has released a new guide for those traveling to the US. In a long or short format, this guide gives travelers the facts they need in order to prepare for border crossings while protecting their digital information.
See more on the EFF website: https://www.eff.org/press/releases/digital-privacy-us-border-new-how-guide-eff
Digital Privacy Guide at the U.S. Border
EFF’s pocket guide
Your constitutional rights
Testing UR on Panopticlick
We tested UR (L) against Chrome (R) on Panopticlick. (Mac version)
Panopticlick is a website run by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF). It analyzes your browser and sees how safe it is against online tracking techniques.
With our new privacy update now available on both PC and Mac, we decided to test it.
UR Beat Chrome Against Online Tracking.
Here, you can see that UR has two green checkmarks—for “blocking tracking ads” and for “blocking invisible trackers.” Chrome, on the other hand, has all red x’s. This is because Chrome needs to track its users for its business model—your search and browsing data fuel its advertising industry.
Two check marks are great! However, we’re most excited about this, straight from the EFF:
All of us here at UR are really pleased about this! Our hard work is paying off 🙂
There is still work to do—fingerprinting, for example is a big project for which we’ve been doing R&D for months. More to come on that soon.
Have you tested UR? Head over to Panopticlick to see your own results!
Mac update! 🍎
We told our beta testers back in January that we were shifting the focus of UR and concentrating on privacy and security features.
Our goal is to build a web browser that gives you easy-to-use tools to protect your privacy and keep your data safe.
This beta version is a big step forward in our vision of a browser built to protect users. More to come in the near future!
Please uninstall your current version of UR and re-install this one.
• Qwant as default search provider
• All reporting to Google’s servers has been removed
• Third party cookies blocked
• Built-in ad blocker and VPN (500Mb free/month)
• Privacy settings by default
• Virus scanner
• Alerts for suspicious websites
• Doubled RSA key encryption
For the nerds: check out the exhaustive list of privacy features.
Test UR for its privacy features!
• Panopticlick is website run by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) that shows you how safe (or unsafe!) your browser is against tracking. See how UR stacks up and share it!
Join the beta newsletter here: https://www.ur-browser.com/en-US/Press
Connect with us on Facebook or Twitter.
Lots of 1s and 0s…
You’ve probably heard about data encryption before, but if you still aren’t exactly sure what it is, here’s the scoop on data encryption:
The purpose of data encryption is to protect digital data confidentiality. Data encryption uses an algorithm, which translates the data into another form or code. Without a secret encryption key, this data is unreadable.
Encryption is one of the most widely used and effective data security methods used by organizations to transfer data.
• When you use your credit card online, your computer encrypts that information so that others can’t steal your personal data as it is being transferred.
• When you see the image, it means that there is an encrypted link between the website’s server and your browser.
Should you de-connect your connected devices?
From sports brands to pharmaceutical corporations, companies worldwide are gathering more data than ever due to boost of Internet connected devices now integrated into their IT infrastructure.
By May 2018, new European Union rules related to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will go into effect and could potentially interfere with companies that bank on collecting and processing user data for their businesses.
So, what’s the problem?
The dilemma for these companies experimenting with Artificial Intelligence (AI) begins with profiling, which is essentially the ability for companies to use automation to determine certain characteristics of their individual users.
When companies use data analytics and related automation technologies to predict whether someone is likely to be a good worker or be more prone to a specific illness, that business is taking part in profiling.
“Companies need to carefully determine how to use their various types of data for different purposes that don’t potentially put them at risk of a violation. In some cases, that may mean a company should leave out certain demographic data when debuting a specific service overseas.”
Executives of major tech companies like Cisco and Microsoft are advocating for the technology community to “explain very well” complex and misunderstood AI technologies to policy makers who may be ill-informed.
As the EU prides itself on protecting the personal data of an individual, these companies conducting business in the Europe must be extremely cautious with how they handle and process their customer data.
Read more on Fortune: http://fortune.com/2017/02/14/google-microsoft-cisco-privacy-profiling-artificial-intelligence/
Image credit: Shutterstock