As the world increasingly becomes a smaller place through the internet and social media, so too do the dangers of the internet and social media increase exponentially.
After all, the more strangers that are crammed together in cyberspace, the more likely you are to be crammed together with malicious agents.
Not helping matters at all is the manner in which tech titans like Google and Facebook commercially weaponize your personal information.
Even ignoring the blatantly partisan politics companies like Google engage in, these Silicon Valley behemoths deserve to be excoriated for their practices.
According to the U.K. Guardian, Google has troves of data on you.
Google knows everything you’ve ever searched or deleted from your search history. Google also has an advertisement profile on you, which includes everything from location, gender, age, hobbies, career, interests, relationship status and income. Google might even know your weight to advertise those miracle weight-loss pills.
Much of that obviously holds true for Facebook as well.
In fact, according to the Guardian’s Dylan Curran, when he requested all of the information Google had on him, he received a whopping 5.5GB worth of data. That is the equivalent of literally millions of Word documents.
It’s a legitimate dystopian nightmare thinking about how much Google can track you.
But as capitalism continually teaches, one company’s foibles are another company’s huge opportunity.
One such company taking advantage of growing consumer distrust in Google and Facebook? DuckDuckGo.
DuckDuckGo is a new search engine that was launched in 2008 but just recently got a “quiet” $10 million boost from a Canadian pension fund called OMERS, according to TechCrunch. According to the company, it’s now drawing an average of about 29 million searches a day.
According to DuckDuckGo’s About Us page, the company’s statements fly directly in the face of what we’ve come to expect from tech companies.
“We’re setting the new standard of trust online, empowering people to take control of their information,” the top of the page reads.
“You deserve privacy. Companies are making money off of your private information online without your consent,” DuckDuckGo continues. “At DuckDuckGo, we don’t think the internet should feel so creepy and getting the privacy your deserve online should be as simple as closing the blinds.”
DuckDuckGo stressed its business practices on Twitter as well.
We are proud to have a profitable business model that doesn't rely on collecting personal data.
Our Founder & CEO explains how we make money & why companies like Google & Facebook could still be wildly profitable without invasive tracking: https://t.co/mkxTEvCdEe
— DuckDuckGo (@DuckDuckGo) June 26, 2018
“Too many people believe that you simply can’t expect privacy on the Internet. We disagree and have made it our mission to set a new standard of trust online,” DuckDuckGo’s actual mission statement reads.
As divisive and dangerous as the internet can be, the tools it makes possible are all but necessary in 2018.
If there’s a tech company that can protect my private information in the age of the internet, they will certainly have my support.