Free the Internet from mass surveillance
Mullvad has developed a privacy-focused browser together with the Tor Project. We have done this to fight surveillance capitalism and authorities mass-monitoring people all over the world. But why is this so important to us? As we see it (and we’re far from the only ones) the internet has turned into an infrastructure where it’s possible to collect anything about anyone at any time. We see it happening constantly, and we think it comes with fatal consequences.
Every day we see how governments, big tech and small tech (they’re not that small really, they’re just relatively unknown) and data brokers gather and map people's lives. Most of the data is collected to sell to the highest bidder (and it's not expensive, not at all). We don’t like that infrastructure. We believe it’s devastating for the development of society.
We believe in another version of the internet. We believe in a free internet – free from big data gathering and digital markets where your personal information is up for sale, free from mass surveillance and censorship. Free from technology monitoring how you use the internet to predict and influence your future behavior for commercial or political purposes.
We believe in a free internet where everyone has the right to privacy. Where everyone feels free to discuss and challenge whatever they want. Privacy is the very foundation of a thriving and evolving society. The opposite is a society under surveillance, and we believe that mass surveillance always has totalitarian control as its end station.
You say you have nothing to hide?
This is a popular narrative from those who like to pit privacy against security, from those who claim that these two values must always be weighed against each other or operate in opposition. They say ‘if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear’. But this is a misconception based on the belief that we have to give up some level of privacy to get security in return. Since when did that become a golden rule? What research and what statistics suggest that we need to monitor all human activity to keep us safe? Privacy and security don’t operate on opposite spectrums, they co-exist as part of a symbiotic ecosystem. As privacy specialist Bruce Schneier puts it: “Too many wrongly characterize the debate as security versus privacy. The real choice is freedom versus control.”
It’s like saying you don’t care about freedom of speech because you have nothing to say
On this matter (and many others) we think Edward Snowden expresses it better than anyone else. From his book Permanent Record:
“Ultimately, saying that you don’t care about privacy because you have nothing to hide is no different from saying you don’t care about freedom of speech because you have nothing to say. Or that you don’t care about freedom of the press because you don’t like to read. Or that you don’t care about freedom of religion because you don’t believe in God. Or that you don’t care about the freedom to peaceably assemble because you’re a lazy, antisocial agoraphobe. Just because this or that freedom might not have meaning to you today doesn’t mean that it doesn’t or won’t have meaning tomorrow, to you, or to your neighbor – or to the crowds of principled dissidents I was following on my phone who were protesting halfway across the planet, hoping to gain just a fraction of the freedom that my country was busily dismantling.”
Without freedom there can be no democracy
At the end of the day, this is a democratic issue. It’s about human rights. As Shoshana Zuboff, professor at Harvard, expresses it:
“Privacy means that we have decision rights over our experience. As Justice Louis Brandeis pointed out years ago, these rights enable us to decide what is shared and what is private. Without those decision rights, we have no protection from surveillance capitalism’s economies of action, which are gradually being institutionalized as a global means of behavioral monitoring and modification in the service of its commercial objectives. These systems are a direct assault on human agency and individual sovereignty, as they challenge the most elemental right to autonomous action. Without agency there is no freedom, and without freedom there can be no democracy.”
Join the movement – all together as one.
So what can you do about the mass surveillance of today? We can all bring friction to the system and make it as hard as possible for those actors collecting personal data. You can decide to go with the Tor Project and the Tor Network. Or you can use a trustworthy VPN and the Mullvad Browser. Whatever you choose to do, reconsider your internet behavior and take a moment to think about the business model of apps, search engines and all other “free” services out there. It’s impossible to be 100 percent anonymous all the time. But the Mullvad Browser and the Mullvad VPN is how we try to make a difference. This is what we bring to the battlefield to make mass surveillance impractical. This is our contribution to free the internet. Spread the word (you won’t find a share button here).