One of the co-founders of Mozilla the publishers of Firefox, Brendan Eich, has built a new browser to bravely stop outside online ads and ad tracking.
Brave to the rescue, mixed feelings about CEO
As someone who streams a lot of football (soccer for many of you) along with a number of other sports (this includes the Republican debates) and U.S. television from my home in Guatemala, online ads can be a bit of a bane to my existence. Imagine my excitement today when I woke to a press release in my inbox announcing a new browser specifically designed to block online ads.
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While I appreciate the Brave browser’s aim to block unwanted ads, I’m personally a bit torn on its creator, president and CEO, Brendan Eich. Eich was, if you remember, CEO of Mozilla for eleven days before stepping down less than two weeks into his tenure when it came to light that he made a 2008 contribution to a group who supported Proposition 8, the California ballot measure that banned same-sex marriage.
Few have used Brave yet which is designed for Window and OS X for desktop use as well as both iOS and Android for mobile use. It’s presently only made available for developers and it’s version 0.7 means it remains under construction with no preview and no final code launch date announced.
Eich explains Brave
Brave’s CEO is no fan of ad tracking going so far as to call the practice a “primal threat” to privacy. “I contend that the threat we face is ancient and, at bottom, human,” Eich wrote on Brave’s website. “Some call it advertising, others privacy. I view it as the Principal-Agent conflict of interest woven into the fabric of the Web.”
Eich doesn’t believe that ad tracking is a two-way street, but rather a predatory practice that encourages websites, including this one, to target you with revenue generating ads. Now that I think about, sports aren’t as important as my job.
In a nutshell, Brave intends to clean a website of the majority of its ads and all tracking and then supply its own ads from an anonymous collection of alternate ads.
“We will target ads based on browser-side intent signals phrased in a standard vocabulary, and without a persistent user id or highly re-identifiable cookie,” Eich said. “By default Brave will insert ads only in a few standard-sized spaces. We find those spaces via a cloud robot.”
“We are building a new browser and a connected private cloud service with anonymous ads,” he continued.