What privacy services have been sold or taken on major investors? We should find out

I think you misread our privacy policy:

"We do not have Google AdSense or any other third party tracker within our bookmark tool. We may use AdSense in the future but only on our website homepage or direct links, to aggregate data about the performance of the marketing of our website. This is something that is considered standard practice in the industry. "

That means NOT within the app, that means within the hompage or direct links to one of our landing pages. Not within an account. Still, even though that wouldn’t negate any of our claims about privacy and our app since it’s not talking about within the app, I’m gonna change that to never. Needs to be updated because we decided recently to take an even harder stance towards privacy even extending to our homepage.

As for the tracking, we do not have third-party tracking, never did. If you inspect the site using console, its easy to see that those cookies you mention are not found. Maybe you’re finding this because of the youtube embed on the homepage.

Definetly our privacy policy needs to be updated to state that we will never use thrird-party tracking on any part of our site. But we do use some google resources, like youtube embed (on the website, not the app) and google fonts.

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@danarel I just want to give an update. I updated our privacy policy to state that we will never use third-party tracking tools, ever. I also made it so the youtube video doesn’t embed itself into the website until clicked which got rid of those tracking warnings on the load. I wish I didn’t have to use youtube at all but from a bandwidth standpoint, that’s our only option right now.


Thanks for getting the focus back @strypey .

On that note…We’ve had some helpful input on questions to ask ALL privacy services, and it seems the comments have waned. I believe it’s time to come up with a suggested final list.

Would it be best for me to propose a final list at the current PrivacytoolsIO reddit thread or? Would love your input @danarel @jonah @strypey and everyone else who would like to weigh in.


@LizMcIntyre This seems like such an important yet ignored topic. Could you share what you have found so far and the method you use to find them? I absolutely agree that there should be a place for this. To hold businesses accountable there must be a place to report and access sales of privacy based businesses, especially when user information is involved in the sale.

Finding out the information does seem quite difficult which might be a factor for it being a lackluster thread. My research on it has been excruciating, I don’t have a firm grip on what keywords/tools to use when searching for it. It doesn’t seem like searching press releases has been very fruitful way of researching the topic but maybe I haven’t tried hard enough.

It seems like there may be some software that could be written to do this in a more efficient way than I am. But I’ve been trying to think of how that would work and I’m drawing blanks at the moment. If anyone has any ideas, I don’t mind starting an open-source project and start coding it provided its not insanely hard to do. I also got someone else from here in mind who would probably help out.

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Great to hear!

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Have you considered uploading your video to a PeerTube instance and embedding that on your homepage instead of the version on YT?

IMHO the only long term solution is for businesses not to be the (exclusive) stewards of other people’s data. I recently learned a bit more about the Solid project. Turns out it’s mainly a set of protocols for separating storage of data from the services that make use of that data. The idea being that users can give an online service provider access to only the data they need to perform the service, and easily revoke its access to their storage pod if they stop using the service.

The main roadblock to implementating this in the real world is that it would cut off most of the income sources for existing online services, which tend to be based on various kinds of datafarming. So as well as decentralized tech, we also need to come up with new revenue models for ethical online service provision (eg platform cooperatives).

I would prefer here. If it was up to me, the PTIO subreddit would be either closed, or marked as “unofficial” with a notice that direct users to this forum.

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Becoming a Brave Creator might be another option for donations for that site.

Yes, I tried them out and sometimes the bandwidth was okay, often it would take up to 20 seconds for the video to load, and other times the video wouldn’t work at all. After trying everything I was forced to use youtube again. Since that post I made it so the video doesn’t load until you click the video play button which makes it so the tracking doesn’t initiate on-load. I also started using youtube-nocookie.com which makes it so that cookies aren’t saved when the widget loads which helps a bit with the reduction of tracking.

Thanks for the suggestion, we are looking into it.

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In a discussion about privacy products who have shady funding, etc Brave tops the list.

Their major funder is Peter Thiel, who sits on the Facebook board and owns Palantir (which creates software for ICE). You can’t find a person more devoted to exploiting humans for profit.

@danarel I just did some quick googling and I’m having trouble finding a source on that Peter Thiel is considered a major investor. It appears he’s an investor among many because of his Founders Fund. He may have almost no influence on the business decisions in any way. If brave tops the list of shadiness surely there must be something more to go on than this.


Would you ever consider opening the source of WebCull? Because it looks great, it has a beautiful GUI and it is what I’ve been looking for for some time but I can’t use (morally) if it’s not open source. :sob:

@a553d43c-f7fa-483a-8 I’m glad to hear you like my work. Thanks. As I’ve explained in a multitude of places around the web now. I am not opening the source on moral grounds. Opening the source to a project like this would be increasing its potential vulnerability to its users. You or anyone else is free to disagree and debate this but this decision has been scrutinized to the limit and doesn’t seem likely to change.

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This forum runs on Discourse, which is free code, as is the rest of the software used by PTIO to host services. In precisely what ways is this …


Just to clarify, are you disagreeing that Peter Thiel is a funder of Brave, or that Peter Theil is shady? Because if it’s the latter, I think the two facts Dan shared (connections to FB and Palentir) make him plenty shady, as does his buying a citizenship in NZ. Citizenship normally requires permanent residence, which in turn requires at least 3 years of living and working in the country. Theil had never lived here, nor been here for more than a couple of days. Shady as.

Weird. I’ve been using an ancient netbook on dodgy DSL broadband but PeerTube has been working well for me. Same on my wife’s MacBook. How long ago did you try? PT streaming performance has improved a lot since 1.0 was released.

Is it possible to use an Invidious instance (eg invidio.us) to embed a YT video, rather than exposing your visitors to YT’s nonfree JS?

I think I did that back in november and it was removed by december. Yeah good to hear things improved. I will take a look again, thanks.

Yes, I tried this and experience performance issues far more often than using youtube straight. Which is a big problem, a new visitor not being able to see the video right away quickly decreases our conversion rate. I hope things have gotten better since I last checked, I would like to rid the site of all things google and this video player is the final frontier.

I don’t have any doubt he is shady af (anyone with an interest in fb is by default) but what I’m saying I can’t find anything that says he’s a so called “major investor” or has any influence on the company’s (brave) decisions or has access to brave user data.

Yes but this source code does what exactly? It’s message board software right? It does not hold as sensitive of data as webcull does. Show me a bank or a place that holds highly sensitive data that runs on purely open source. Take another example like wordpress, lots of reasons why people would exploit the hell out of that, and guess what they do, and for this reason I would never use wordpress. Which is even more of a reason why someone should never use an open-source bookmark manager if they save sensitive stuff to it.

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“Peter Thiel’s Founders Fund is among the venture capital firms backing the startup and its ad-blocking browser.”

… or has any influence on the company’s (brave) decisions or has access to brave user data.

I’d say the burden of proof is on those who claim a company’s decisions are not influenced by investors, or their user data compromised. It’s pretty well established that accepting capital from investors has these consequences. For example, we generally presume that both WhatSapp and Instagrim are compromised because they are owned and funded by FB, without demanding smoking gun evidence ofit happening.

Show me a bank or a place that holds highly sensitive data that runs on purely open source.

I will respond to this section of your reply in the thread where it’s on-topic: