Comparing Both Sides of The Pond
Internet-based applications are building up privacy concerns worldwide. The UN has even named privacy in its Universal Declaration of Human Rights. How exactly does privacy regulation differ in the United States and in the European Union? See below for the top ways in which privacy regulation varies between these two large economies.
UR is a web browser focused on user privacy. Learn more more about the privacy feature here.
In recent years, internet users are increasingly concerned about their online privacy. Ad blocker and VPN services have flourished, as users religiously check remove their cookies and check their spyware detectors. However, there exists a “privacy paradox.” Although people seem to be concerned about their privacy, their actions don’t necessarily reflect their worries.
A recent meta-analysis of 166 studies, including 75,269 participants, explored this paradox. Those who are concerned about their privacy are more inclined to regularly delete cookies, use strong passwords and generally take precautions when browsing.
However, when it comes to social media, these same users disregard these worries, even when they know that their data could be against them. Many of these users behave carelessly online, allowing much of their data to be made public. Privacy concerns appear to go out the window with social media, partly due to the fact that social media appeals to a basic human need: social interaction.
“Because people’s concerns about privacy don’t seem to translate into behaviors to protect privacy, it is quite easy to envision a future in which everything we do online becomes part of our public reputation.”
Read more on Harvard Business Review.
Since the launch of the new beta, we’ve had several emails and comments from Mac users who have trouble downloading all the features. This is the beta that is currently found on the UR website.
If you’re not seeing Shield, AdControl, Ninja or Downloader (or perhaps seeing multiple versions of them), it is because you already have a previous version of UR installed on your computer.
Rest assured, we are working on fixing this! In the meantime, we recommend that you carry out a total reinstallation of UR, so that no elements is left from a previous version.
The Privacy Shield may be in limbo according the EU officials. With the FCC recently rolling back internet privacy rules, the EU is concerned about the future of the US-EU Privacy Shield.
The European Parliament voted on a resolution last week that would ask the European Commission (the executive branch of the EU) to ensure that Europeans’ data is being protected, as agreed upon in the US-EU Privacy Shield.
The Privacy Shield came into effect in July 2016, after the previous Safe Harbor agreement was declared invalid by European courts in 2015. Less than a year into it, the Privacy Shield is on the rocks—the object of two lawsuits, and to date, lacking an ombudsman to oversee complaints.
Read more on The Daily Dot.
UR is a secure web browser based in the European Union. Our goal? Protecting your data. Find out more about privacy in UR.
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