These Tools Use Privacy As a Business Strategy
As the world’s largest technology companies continue to gather your data and use it to influence you, there are a growing number of companies that are focusing on putting privacy first.
Search Encrypt is an online search engine that prioritizes protecting searchers’ privacy and avoiding search bias or filter bubbles in its search results. Search Encrypt’s claims to “not track search history” and “prevents your ISP from tracking your search terms”.
Search Encrypt’s Growth
Search Encrypt started seeing rapid growth in January 2018. Since then the private search tool has seen exponential growth and looks to keep growing into the future.
Startpage is a web search engine that highlights privacy as its distinguishing feature. It was previously known as the metasearch engine Ixquick, Startpage being then a variant service. Both sites were merged in 2016. Along with its search engine, StartPage also offers a stand-alone proxy service and a privacy-focused email service called StartMail.
Startpage saw a big jump in its popularity in mid-2018 after it merged Ixquick into Startpage for better brand recognition. Startpage was the default search engine for Tor Browser prior to version 4.5 when the browser switched its search provider to DuckDuckGo.
ExpressVPN is a virtual private network service offered by the British Virgin Islands-registered company Express VPN International Ltd. The software is marketed as a privacy and security tool that encrypts users’ web traffic and masks their IP addresses.
The VPN space has exploded in recent years as people become more concerned about keeping their IP address private. Another reason for ExpressVPN’s impressive growth is its large affiliate program. This allows people to sign up to be an affiliate and direct people towards ExpressVPN’s product and get paid for any sales they generate. This has contributed to much of the VPN industry’s success.
NordVPN is a personal virtual private network service provider. It has desktop applications for Windows, macOS, and Linux, mobile apps for Android and iOS, as well as an application for Android TV. Manual setup is available for wireless routers, NAS devices and other platforms.
The head of NordVPN’s marketing and communications team explains that as more people become aware of different security threats online, more will turn to VPNs to keep their information protected.
ProtonMail is an end-to-end encrypted email service founded in 2014 at the CERN research facility by Andy Yen, Jason Stockman, and Wei Sun. ProtonMail uses client-side encryption to protect email contents and user data before they are sent to ProtonMail servers, unlike other common email providers such as Gmail and Outlook. The service can be accessed through a webmail client, the Tor network, or dedicated iOS and Android apps.
ProtonMail has seen steady growth over the past three years. ProtonMail benefits every time there is a news story about major email services failing to protect their users’ emails. In December 2018, ProtonMail posted on its website that it has surpassed 10 million users.