Organisations have pledged to “rebuild the internet so that it returns to the ideals set out by its founders”.

Mojeek, a British-built independent search engine that claims to put the people who use it first, has joined forces with organisations and industry leaders in creating and signing the Privacy Pledge.

Companies and groups to join include Proton (encrypted email), The Tor Project (third party tracking blocker), Threema, (secure chat) and David Carroll (a data protection academic).

The pledge sets out a set of principles that they believe all companies and organisations should hold themselves to if they are going to build a better internet where privacy is the default setting.

“This addiction to personal data has stripped us of our rights. But together we will restore them,” said Colin Hayhurst, CEO of Mojeek.

“Building an entirely independent search engine is not an easy undertaking. We’re going up against some of the most influential companies in history, and they won’t let go of their power easily. 

“Only through collective action, working with like-minded organisations and privacy-conscious people all over the world, can we make this change that the internet so desperately needs.”

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The Privacy Pledge has five principles: the internet should be built to serve people; organisations should only collect data that are necessary for them to prevent abuse and deliver their services; people’s data should be securely encrypted; online organisations should be transparent about their identity and software; web services should be interoperable.

Hayhurst says that Mojeek is at the forefront of a growing movement of privacy-focused companies that ‘lets people choose what happens to data’, developed as a completely independent web search engine with no tracking, that could be used by people across the world.

The Privacy Pledge isn’t meant to promote a particular service or endorse a particular piece of legislation. Its goal is to elevate fundamental principles that will guide us toward a private-by-default internet.

The signatories of the Privacy Pledge said: “We launched the Privacy Pledge in response to the public demand for an internet that gives you control of your privacy.

“We believe that if more companies hold themselves to these standards, the internet will once again serve people and not Big Tech. It will be more open and more accessible for everyone. And it will support democratic values, free access to information, and the fundamental right to privacy.”

Read the entire Privacy Pledge here and see the full list of the companies involved.

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