Privacy is a Right, Not a Luxury – and it’s Worthy of Protection

Data-harvesting, monitoring, ad-targeting and even industrial espionage are threats for modern Internet users – and one company has a practical solution.

Tech advances of the past 20 years have forever changed the way people communicate, work and live. The number of people using smart phones this year is expected to reach seven billion.

Aloha-browser

Mobile devices, emails, messaging services, social networks and video calls are how we stay in touch – with those far from us, or perhaps sitting just across the table.

The internet and AI have “brought the world into our homes” as never before. From armchair travel or chatting with a friend in another country to shopping, watching a movie or learning, all this can take place in the comfort of your sitting room.

Since the pandemic and the emergence of flexible- and remote working, even being employed no longer requires a daily commute. The freedom of information is great, and seductive. We don’t even question whether the services of Google, Yahoo, Meta or Amazon come at a price.

But they do.

As the old adage has it, there is no such thing as a free lunch – and it’s a harsh economic reality. Everything comes with a price tag. In this case, it’s our personal privacy and security. It’s no secret that user-data is collected, analysed, and ultimately monetised by corporations, who own 80 to 95 percent of the market.

We would really like to be reassured that it’s possible to still be a “private individual” – respectful of the rights of others, but away from the public eye and political scrutiny – able to think, act, speak, shop, or learn without our actions being monitored and analysed. But each time we go online, somebody, somewhere, is watching.

And that matters, even if we have nothing to hide. It’s a matter of principle. Academics, economists and intellectuals increasingly share the view that networked computer databases are a threat to personal privacy. Billions of people have little or no knowledge of how their information is being harvested, collected, stored – and used.

Cyprus-based Aloha Browser is one company that feels strongly about these issues. It is a mobile and desktop private web browser that allows users to maintain online privacy, and have full control of their personal data.

Aloha does not use, collect, or monetise user data. Instead of selling data to advertisers, the firm generates revenue via premium and VPN services subscriptions. The core philosophy is that digital privacy is a right, not a privilege, and internet users must have access to the net and maintain total control over their personal data and privacy.

Aloha offers free and paid-for options for a range of services. It gives users that freedom – and has found alternative ways to remain profitable and continue to grow without stooping to the data-mining and individual tracking common to many IT companies.

It achieves the highest levels of privacy by mixing all finger-printing data in a way that a single user can’t be distinguished from the masses. If millions of images are piled on top of each other, it will be impossible to identify a single one. In the same way, Aloha users will be invisible among the millions of other users. It will be impossible to establish who is performing which specific action.

First launched in the EU in 2015, Aloha has seen steady user growth in Europe, North America and Asia. Consumers globally are increasingly aware of their privacy options, and more companies are hitting the headlines for breaches of privacy.

The EU enacted the Digital Markets Act, or DMA, this year. This increased user protection and loosened the grip corporate giants like Google and Apple have had on mobile device browsers, making it easier for users to find alternate browsers. Since the introduction of this Act, Aloha has seen average user rates rise by 250 percent in Europe – in the first month alone.

Aloha’s priority remains that of giving users the right to be private, which is crucial for all internet users, now and in coming years, particularly with the adoption and integration of AI into so many aspects of our lives.

The overall approach is to provide simplicity and accessibility while meeting consumer needs and expectations. Modern users have choices for browsers, and often have more than one installed on their device. We dream of a better, more secure future for our customers – but we are realists. We believe Aloha can become the go-to option for people who realise that they need privacy for a particular transaction, search, or interaction.

Andrew Frost Moroz

Author: Andrew Frost Moroz, Founder of Aloha Browser

Another goal is to make the complex matter of privacy as simple as possible. It works right out of the box, without the need for advanced set-up or fiddling with extensions or complicated switches. Even non-tech-savvy users can benefit from it. Building complex products is hard, but building simple ones that can do the same thing is infinitely harder. This is where Aloha comes into its own.

Consumers and users spend an average of three hours and 15 minutes each day on mobile devices. It’s crucial to have some degree of control over who is monitoring that activity, and what that information is being used for. A browser that can limit your exposure is quite simply part of that right to privacy.

Remember the 1998 film with Will Smith and Gene Hackman, Enemy of the State? Many wonder if it was based on a true story. It wasn’t – but the tech that looked so far-fetched then is now becoming reality.

Despite the overall dominance of the sector by Google and Apple, Aloha still has a strong share of followers, with more than 250 million users worldwide, 10 million of them each month. These numbers have been growing more since the EU’s recent rulings made such choices easier to attain.

This growth shows that there is a large, but still not fully-served, population that wants control of all their personal data.

Owing to technology advances, access to the Internet has never been easier. The flip side is that the higher the number of access points, the higher the number of opportunities for a cyberattack. More Internet users are becoming concerned about their privacy, and the fact that a lack of it can be a real threat should personal data end up in the wrong hands.

At Aloha, we are not only protecting our users from the annoyance of cookies, cross-device tracking, browser fingerprinting, or bombardment by ads while visiting certain websites. We are looking further ahead.

The AI era brings more urgency to the issues of privacy and personal data. It has already taken over many aspects of home and work life, and one should be able to benefit from it without compromising privacy and avoiding phishing, spyware, and identity fraud.

Aloha is pioneering AI privacy to protect users from today’s threats – as well as emerging ones. We’re working hard to ensure privacy rights, and looking ahead to stay abreast of coming challenges.


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