EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS


Privacy-Centric Services and Even Drupal/Acquia Defect to the Camp of Mass Surveillance

Posted in Deception, Search at 5:23 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Defective by defection (or when good things suddenly become bad)

Defective traffic light

Summary: In search of money [pun intended] companies and services that are supposed to respect their customers and users turn out to be doing the opposite; this merits research and public discussions

SINCE we started covering the issue of privacy online we’ve received a number of pointers that led to further articles (this page has our most recent search-related posts in Techrights) and hours ago we discussed in our IRC channel Swisscows — a site we hadn’t heard of before (the IRC logs will be published tomorrow). Swisscows appears to have been discussed among privacy-conscious people and we meanwhile study a number of services that were sold (ownership changed) to potentially privacy-violating hands that engage in large-scale surveillance; that’s their business model.

“What does the new owner of Acquia plan for Drupal itself?”Yesterday we also saw this alarming page about the latest Acquia pivot towards surveillance capitalism — the second such move that we saw in recent months. The first move predates Acquia being sold and it’s disturbing because this is the company behind Drupal, which powers many millions of sites and thus impacts what code/extensions they run. I spoke to the founder of Drupal about this. Whether he controls Acquia or not is a matter of debate, but following the passage of ownership (about a month ago, Vista Equity Partners took over the whole thing!) he’s likely just some salaried employee there. If Drupal’s ‘parent’ company has gone rogue, then people deserve to know about it. This company also provides services such as hosting to a lot of companies, including Red Hat (e.g. OpenSource.com). Will it spy on visitors and pass on the data? After the buyout it’s in hands that will likely pursue nothing but ‘monetisation’; it’s the surveillance business. “Acquia Lift,” the text said yesterday, “a key component of the solution and the only personalization tool optimized for Drupal, is now available as a no-code application to help marketers easily optimize customer experiences, the company said.”

This isn’t the first such move and it worries me more to see them going even further in this direction. What does the new owner of Acquia plan for Drupal itself? Myself and others who are vocal privacy proponents confronted Drupal’s founder over it, but it clearly didn’t end there. The company that they’re liaising with writes blog posts such as “How to Legally Spy on Your Website Visitors” and its “Privacy [sic] Policy” looks a lot like that of System1 'apps'.

And speaking of System1, the deeper we look, the more intrigued we become. It’s a massive company, but it is not well known. It probably prefers it that way.

We’ve meanwhile also asked (twice even): Does anyone know how much System1 owns of Startpage? Maybe all of it. Startpage won’t say! They’re totally hiding it!

“Why is it that spying companies pick up everything that’s left without harm and why is it that sales of this kind are allowed?”“Note that Startpage has refused to answer ownership questions and has not been completely transparent in some answers,” a reader told us. “Plus, its somewhat hidden blog post about the sale/investment was rather cagey and could lead people to believe System1 only bought a smidgen of Startpage via the Startpage Holding company. (Because new holding company directors took office in December 2018 who are associated with System1, it’s more likely System1 bought it out completely or bought a majority.) This does not necessarily mean Startpage/System1 is spying on people.”

“Do I trust new owner/investor System1 to champion privacy? No. Not at all. All you have to do is look at the products System1 pimps as privacy and security products. They talk a good game, but the privacy policies tell the story. Plus, System1 is one of the largest pay-per-click companies in the world. Would you trust a pay-per-click behavioral advertising company with your personal information? Hell no! Not without ongoing oversight.”

Why is it that spying companies pick up everything that’s left without harm and why is it that sales of this kind are allowed? Will money/greed corrupt everything?

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

What Else is New

  1. Links 6/12/2019: DRM in GNU/Linux and Sparky Bonsai

    Links for the day

  2. The EPO Rejects Innovation

    The EPO ceased caring about the needs of scientists whose work involves invention; instead, EPO management crafts increasingly lenient guidelines that yield illegal European Patents (not compatible with the EPC) that heavily-besieged EPO judges are unable to stop

  3. Startpage CEO Robert Beens in 'Damage Control' Mode, Trying to Get Startpage Relisted After Selling to a Massive Surveillance Company

    PrivacytoolsIO is being lobbied by the CEO of Startpage to relist Startpage, based on no actual refutations at all

  4. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, December 05, 2019

    IRC logs for Thursday, December 05, 2019

  5. Links 5/12/2019: qBittorrent 4.2.0, Expensive Librem 5 and OpenBSD Bugs

    Links for the day

  6. Microsoft Staff Repeatedly Refuses to Tell How Many People Use WSL, Defends Patent Extortion and Blackmail of Linux Instead

    The people who develop WSL (mostly Microsoft employees) get easily irritated when asked how many people actually use this thing; but more interestingly, however, they reveal their disdain for GNU/Linux and support for Microsoft blackmail (for 'Linux patent tax')

  7. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, December 04, 2019

    IRC logs for Wednesday, December 04, 2019

  8. Links 4/12/2019: Tails 4.1, UCS 4.4-3 and Proxmox VE 6.1

    Links for the day

  9. Google Tightens Its Noose

    Now it’s official! Google is just a bunch of shareholders looking to appease the Pentagon at all costs

  10. Europeans Still Need to Save the European Patent Office From Those Who Attack Its Patent Quality

    Patent quality is of utmost interest; without it, as we're seeing at the EPO and have already seen at the USPTO for a number of years, legal disputes will arise where neither side wins (only the lawyers win) and small, impoverished inventors or businesses will be forced to settle outside the courts over baseless allegations, often made by parasitic patent trolls (possessing low-quality patents they don't want scrutinised by courts)

  11. We Never Accepted and Will Never Accept Corporate Money

    Corporate money is a unique problem because of its magnitude and the fact that it's impersonal; shareholders can only ever accept its supposed justifications if they're receiving something in return (of proportional worth to the payment/transaction)

  12. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, December 03, 2019

    IRC logs for Tuesday, December 03, 2019

  13. Links 3/12/2019: elementary OS 5.1 Hera, Plasma 5.17.4, Firefox 71

    Links for the day

  14. Laundering the Reputation of Criminals: That's an Actual Job

    An important reminder that the manufactured, paid-for (media is being bribed) image of Bill Gates is the product of the PR industry he enlisted to distract from his endless crimes

  15. 'Priceless' Tickets to the EPO's Back End and Team UPC

    CIPA's and the EPO's event (later this week) is more of the same; the EPO exists not to serve European businesses but a bunch of law firms and their biggest clients (which usually aren't even European)

  16. IRC Proceedings: Monday, December 02, 2019

    IRC logs for Monday, December 02, 2019

  17. New EPO Leak Shows That the Rumours and Jokes Are Partly True and We Know Who 'Runs the Show'

    Europe’s second-largest institution is so profoundly dysfunctional, a reprehensible kakistocracy of tribalism, money-grabbing career-climbing autocrats and possibly major fraud; today’s leak looks at what motivated and enabled the formation and latest incarnation of “Team Campinos”

  18. Links 2/12/2019: Linux Mint 19.3 Beta, DPL Sam Hartman Talks About SystemD

    Links for the day

  19. What Former Debian Project Leader (Second to the Late Ian Murdock) Thinks About SystemD in Debian GNU/Linux

    Now that Debian is debating and voting on diversity in the technical sense the thoughts of Bruce Perens merit broader audience/reach

  20. Free/Libre Software Will Eventually Become the Norm, 'Open Source' is Just Proprietary Software Trying to 'Buy Time'

    More people are starting to ask questions about Free software while “Open Source” languishes (people can see it’s just a mask for proprietary software); it was a two-decade delaying tactic that’s wearing off (people see GitHub and the OSI/Linux Foundation for what they really are)

  21. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, December 01, 2019

    IRC logs for Sunday, December 01, 2019

  22. Richard Stallman is Active and Doing Well

    The rumour mill may still be humming along; but against all odds — as Chief GNUisance of the GNU Project — Stallman keeps fighting the good fight (in the face of growing resistance)

  23. Banning Former Microsoft Employees Who Complain About Microsoft Lies, Abuses and Crimes

    The official account of Windows Insider is banning people whom it never even spoke to; this seems like a way of 'punishing' people who are not 'true believers' in Microsoft

  24. Wikileaks: Thierry Breton May Have Misused Regulatory/Government Positions to Attack His Competition (in the Market)

    Thierry 'revolving doors' Breton as seen by the United States government

  25. 13 Years of UPC Promises

    The anatomy of UPC 'fake news' or lobbying tactics along the lines of self-fulfilling prophecies and false predictions

  26. Is Water Wet?

    The criteria for patent eligibility reduced only to this question: will allowing these patents increase ‘production’ (number of patent grants)?

  27. The EPO's President Admits He's Illegally Granting Software Patents (CII, 4IR, IoT, AI and Blockchain Mean Software Patents at the EPO)

    The EPO's chief liar is openly and proudly promoting software patents using buzzwords and hype waves (and mysterious acronyms that are rather meaningless but spread by the media in exchange for money received from the EPO)

  28. Tone Policing and the Linux Foundation

    A timely example of situations where the Linux Foundation can seemingly 'cancel' people (using the Code of Conduct) for political opinions

  29. It EEEsn't Just a Microsoft Thing Anymore

    The EEErosion of Python's independence is a known problem and Microsoft is not the sole culprit

  30. Links 1/12/2019: KDE's GTK CSD Support, Skrooge 2.21.0

    Links for the day

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

Recent Posts