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The web browser Brave is marketed as a privacy-friendly ad-free alternative, but that's pretty disingenuous.

Brave exists not to protect privacy, but to make money from selling ads.

Brave is a commercial company funded by venture capital. Its business model is selling advertising and cryptocurrency investment.

One of Brave's owners is Peter Thiel's Founders Fund. Thiel is also the head of Palantir (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palantir) and on the board of Facebook.

I do not recommend using Brave.

@switchingsocial Brave's founder and CEO (formerly of Mozilla until ousted) donated $1,000 in support of Prop 8 in California, banning marriage equality. Not one penny should go to him.

@socialskeleton @switchingsocial Brave also includes an alt right wiki in its default search engines that Brendan Eich went out of his way to get added github.com/brave/browser-lapto

@switchingsocial So, what are we left with... Palemoon? Konqeror? Surf?

@how

It's not perfect, but Firefox with uBlock Origin + Privacy Badger + telemetry disabled is probably the least worst option IMHO.

@switchingsocial Mozilla broke many extensions between 64 and 65, including ones I require for work. It pissed a lot of people, and they receive 80% of their funding from Google. Their market share has plummeted over the last few years and we're back to pre-Gaggle browser war situation when Mogulsoft was leading...

@how

I'm not saying it's perfect, but it's the least worst option IMHO, partly because my recommendations are aimed at non-technical people who want well-supported apps.

More technical users will have a wider range of alternatives, as seen in this thread.

@how
For once, there was a valid technical reason for the breaking changes.
@switchingsocial

@switchingsocial @how

#GNU IceCat is a bit slower on updates, but insulates you from Corporate Mozilla. It doesn't fix some of the mentioned problems with Firefox, but at least they won't inject ads for Mr. Robot into your browsing. I think (but it's been a while since I last set up IceCat) it enables a lot of the privacy and ad blocking stuff by default, too.

@switchingsocial@mastodon.at I do not recommend using anything with "privacy" as it's selling point because it's a "buzzword" used by companies to deceive unsuspecting consumers that don't understand how companies are abusing of them.

@switchingsocial

If I remember correctly one of these developer is the goon who was thrown out of Mozilla because he donated money to an anti LGBT hate spewing association

The inventor of JavaScript. Like scheme, only less usable

And when it became more ripe it gave birth to npm 🙄

What was his name ?

@AbbieNormal

That is neither here nor there. He, like the organisation he supported, participated in the democratic process in a fair manner, which is what it's all about. Regardless of what you or I think of their proposal, or the corresponding legislative principle in general, they contributed to democratic debate. That does not make anybody a “goon”.

Want respect? Give respect.

@switchingsocial

@61 @switchingsocial

Human rights are not subject to "democratic" process

Straight sexuality or relationship are not subject to referendums

Your argument is the one by Nazis when they claim freedom of speech

Freedom is to be granted to whom ackoledges freedom in their turn

Hate is not an opinion "goon" is appropriate

@switchingsocial I recommend however listening to changelog.com/podcast/323 for an explanation on how Brave tries to go with ads and funding and still *not* put users privacy at risk. They're far from perfect but so far they seem one of the very few entities coming up with a business model approach to fix web content funding. I'd be more than happy to see better or other solutions to this. 😐

@z428

If Brave were sincere about privacy being their main aim, why did they sell themselves to Thiel?

Thiel makes vast sums of money from intruding on privacy, not just selling ads but selling personal data itself.

It would be like Greenpeace selling themselves to Exxon, and then saying this doesn't affect their mission at all.

@switchingsocial Where is the problem here if they run an architecture that doesn't collect any data to be intruded or abused? Plus, like I said, they are by no means an ideal solution but they address an issue others simply tend to ignore. A lot of sites and services depend upon ads these days because the web essentially is considered a large "gratis" environment. We should support alternatives in order to fix that. Brave could be one.

@z428

The problem is the ownership structure.

VC investors demand growth, and eventually that has always meant privacy violations, even on systems that were supposed to protect privacy.

Look at what happened to Whatsapp when it was sold to Facebook:

qz.com/1266469/whatsapp-co-fou

@switchingsocial Yes, that's why I am unhappy with lots of the #fediverse infrastructure in example: The only way to prevent this scenario is developing systems that have protections against those approach built in by design. Like not storing unencrypted data on servers, neither metadata.

@switchingsocial Plus: I guess at some point privacy will be a selling point as anything else, and establishing privacy-aware solutions will need funding to succeed. Firefox on the other hand also would possibly have a hard time without Google ads money. 😐 Where to draw the line?

@z428 @switchingsocial They've done some shady things in the recent past. For one, the BAT fiasco where they were collecting donations from Brave users "on behalf of" folks who never set up BAT donations. theblockcrypto.com/2018/12/24/

For two, making Theodore Beale's Infogalactic a mandatory, non-removable search option for Brave users. Beale is well-known as a Christian creationist, a neo-fascist who supports terrorists like Anders Breivik, and a conspiracy theorist. rationalwiki.org/wiki/Infogala

@chronos Thanks, wasn't aware of that second thing, gonna check it out. That BAT donation incident however felt just awkwardly stupid in many ways, and I didn't really see this to be very much Braves fault.
@switchingsocial

@chronos By the way I don't see Infogalactic anywhere in there, seems it got removed after people complained (and after being added just because users requested some search engines).
@switchingsocial

@switchingsocial I mean, it depends how you spin it. The other spin would be they are trying to promote (and profit from) non-intrusive advertising that doesn't track you around the internet. They do offer an ad-free and privacy-friendly browser that is completely open source, you can also opt-in to view Brave advertising if you wish but that is completely optional. I think you're being pretty unfair to the entire project.

@djabadu

They are marketing themselves as some kind of privacy-first anti-ad project,

They are actually an advertising company themselves, owned by someone who makes billions from invading people's privacy.

It's like an anti-smoking organisation being owned by Philip Morris.

It's Brave that are spinning things here, in order to disguise their true loyalties.

@switchingsocial They're not disguising anything though. They are spinning themselves as "ethical advertising" and that's what their goals are. I'd say write your concerns in /r/batproject and see if any of the replies convince you. Although I still use Firefox I trust a lot in Brave/BAT.

@djabadu

The Brave browser website is clearly pushing the privacy angle, and neglecting to mention their connection to Palantir and Facebook.

Their self-description is: "Brave is open source and built by a team of privacy focused, performance oriented pioneers of the web."

...there is no mention of them being a commercial advertising company co-owned by the head of Palantir.

@switchingsocial they are pushing the privacy angle because they have a browser that focuses on privacy. BAT is a separate but connected project that is opt-in via the Brave browser and *is* about advertising.

@switchingsocial and the BAT project will be bigger than Brave, btw. But I have no problems with ethical advertising and better support for creators by donating BAT to them. If you're concerned about major VCs funding projects in the valley then you're not gonna find many companies that don't accept any of their money. Even Mozilla makes the majority of their money through Google deals.

@djabadu

Brave is funded by BAT, which is funded by VC investors. They are two sides of the same coin.

That's why Brave has lots of resources poured into it, because the investors expect a return through BAT.

Brave even showed off that it gave its users free access to premium online content (brave.com/cheddar-partnership/). Where does the money for this come from? Why do this?

It's very weird behaviour if they are just interested in privacy.

@switchingsocial I don't really get your issue. The browser is privacy-focused and has all of its code available to audit. It profits from the BAT arm of the project which isn't mandatory at all. If you dislike BAT's mission then fine, but the Brave browser is solid and FOSS.

@switchingsocial @djabadu I was pretty sure I read an article about Brave yesterday citing that it "anonymously" tracks your usage of it and rewards you using it with some weird crypto currency.

"It’s surprisingly difficult to find high-quality browsers that focus on privacy as a primary feature. You’ll often hear Brave Browser recommended, but on the company’s website, it openly says that the app 'anonymously monitors user attention, then rewards publishers accordingly with Basic Attention Token (BAT) cryptocurrency.'"
- https://www.makeuseof.com/tag/2-anonymous-web-browsers-completely-private-s

@kitty @switchingsocial
Sigh, this is opt-in. It's literally on the website and if anyone used it for 2 seconds would see this.

@kitty sorry, the previous reply sounded overly pissy 😅

@djabadu Well, you're right, I didn't even bother to look at the page for it, because I personally have no interest in using it. I'm quite happy living here in a Google ecosystem.

But, it seems pretty interesting that they say you can enable ads (and furthermore, the fact that they are targeted) but your information (including what you're browsing and how it is relevant) never leaves your machine?

@kitty @djabadu

From my understanding of using it, the crypto that they're setting up is designed so that instead of showing adverts, you can instead have microtransactions be sent to site owners automatically from a wallet that you fill. You can set a budget for how much is spent per month, and they give you a bit to try out the system.

That way you can help site owners pay bandwidth costs, with no adverts displayed.

I opted out of that for now, i want to see the tech mature a bit, and see more payment options open up before I consider using it.

From their site describing it:
"No registration is required to fund your wallet via cryptocurrencies; users can add funds with BTC, LTC, ETH or BAT by making a transfer to the corresponding wallet address. Note that non-BAT funds sent to the Brave wallet will automatically be converted to BAT, and the balance will be held in BAT by your wallet.

For users who wish to convert fiat into BAT, you can do so by registering with Uphold or other exchanges. Note that for exchanges other than Uphold, a standard cryptocurrency network fee will apply to the transfer in addition to any exchange fee.

In the future we will add the ability to directly fund your wallet with a credit card in the browser.

(Please note that you cannot transfer BAT out of your Brave wallet. The Brave BAT wallet is unidirectional (as was the Brave Rewards Bitcoin proof-of-concept system), and its sole purpose currently is to anonymously and securely contribute to publishers of websites of your choosing.)"

I'm sure brave themselves take a cut from what you put in, or in the transactions to the site...

@clarjon1 @kitty @djabadu They also used to totally lie and act like content creators had signed up to use this, while in reality they had just scraped their names and pretended to take donations for them.

When it was pointed out that this was massively unethical, they first insulted those who complained, then dragged their feet massively on doing anything about it, and then finally changed it silently with zero apologies.

Brendan Eich did this personally, too,.

@kitty @djabadu @switchingsocial it also collects those in name of content creators, even if they have no relations to the platform, while still taking a cut of those donations. Tom Scott tweeted about this when Brave collected donations under his name, with his profile picture, without his knowledge:
twitter.com/tomscott/status/10

@switchingsocial @djabadu
Plus their engine is Chromium. which is practially owned by google. Even if the attached label is open source, its still owned by google.

@djabadu @switchingsocial advertising is bad ... people need to understand that they have to pay for content, there's no such a thing as free

@switchingsocial I really like how easy it is to block and unblock javascript on Brave, is there any other web browser with which it is as convenient to do so?

@switchingsocial

Personally I don't mind adds or judge a company for it's CEOs and shareholders, but on the actions of a company as a whole.

My gripe with Brave is that it's just another chromium browser now, might as well just use chromium or some shizzz.

I really like the Falkon browser though.

@ChrisTalleras
The CEO and shareholders decide what the company does - so judging the company by them is exactly what is to be done.
@switchingsocial

@kirschwipfel

You are setting it up like some of the CEOs and the shareholders set out for a direction or what they do outside that company necessarilly means something similar will happen with that company. It's a logical fallacy basically.

Now, it doesn't mean it can't be like you say in sme instance but usually you as a group make decisions in a company during meetings. If the company finly decide to do something bad then you got justification.

@switchingsocial

@kirschwipfel @switchingsocial

The big point basically is it makes no sense to not use a company's product until they have done something that conflict with your preferences.

Basically opposite of innocent until proven guilty. Or even in a sense not using a product necause it might one day be not how I like it.

@ChrisTalleras @kirschwipfel

I guess it depends on the situation?

If using a company's product gives it market share, and if people come to depend on that product, then it may be too late to stop using it by the time they start doing really bad stuff.

(as seen with Microsoft, Google, Facebook etc.)

You're right that it's difficult to judge sometimes, but track records of owners can give us clues to company's future?

@ChrisTalleras @kirschwipfel

Someone just posted an example of this happening, Google claimed good intentions but once the changes were in place it was too late:

mastodon.social/@StephenJudge/

@switchingsocial @kirschwipfel

I think trying to foresee it is a logical pitfall, but also worst of all falsely judging a company because of a bad apple which also will have bad consequences for the company, or not even a bad apple, just a person who people think ill of but still makes decitions that is in the company's interest.

And if something that is bad that is done that is because of the majorityshareh

It's straight out just a logical fallacy. Don't think there is anything around that.

@ChrisTalleras
This is not a logical fallacy but experience, if the stakeholders are known to invest into companies of some type of business and the CEO is known working for companies doing some kind of business. And both set the directions of a company's business. The same for CFO, CTO, etc. Business people tend to keep working in the business they know. So one can judge from the CEO and stakeholders on the business and trustworthiness
@switchingsocial

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