Startpage supports and champions the efforts made by Max Schrems and fellow Europeans defending their right to privacy. Ultimately, this is a concern around preventing mass government surveillance. This is why the European Court of Justice (ECJ) struck down the Privacy Shield; it felt there is too little protection against government mass surveillance in the United States. US-based technology companies, including search engines, should be used with caution due to the underlying reason of why Privacy Shield was cancelled by the High Court.
Even if people trust US-based tech companies to secure their data, these tech companies can still commercially exploit their data for advertising revenue. Furthermore, the Patriot Act exempts US-based tech companies and their users from protection from government data-sourcing implications.
Throughout history, we’ve seen the danger this risk to civil liberties and privacy can bring. We’ve also seen how transferrable these data sourcing powers can be. While they may be used responsibly during one period of time governed by one administration, a new set of leaders under different circumstances may abuse such powers - - all without your knowledge.
However, it’s important American and European citizens realize that they are at great risk of additional threats to their privacy beyond what a Privacy Shield-like law covers. When companies over-collect personal information and over-share it, like through the giant Internet advertising conglomerates that track everything you do on the Web,there is a likelihood that personal information will be abused.
And the fact that most websites unnecessarily collect vast troves of personal information - and the fact that these troves even exist - is a huge risk, considering how often hacking and even unintentional error causes your private information to become public.
As a profitable, European-based tech company that by policy does not collect user data, we hope more people worldwide will consider the level of security and protection provided by their choice products and country’s legislation. Profitability and privacy must not be mutually exclusive; they can coexist.
Robert E.G. Beens - Co Founder and CEO of Startpage
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