Privacy Pioneers Plan ‘Zero Tracking’ Rival to Facebook, to be called Openbook

The recent exposure of Facebook’s business practices seems to be creating new opportunities for entrepreneurs: creating privacy-oriented alternatives to Facebook. For one, see my earlier article, A Message for Facebook Users: Do You Want Real Online Privacy? at https://privacyblog.com/2018/07/17/a-message-for-facebook-users-do-you-want-real-online-privacy/. However, the two services mentioned in that article are not alone; dozens of others are scrambling to attract former Facebook users who have become dissatisfied with the social network after the huge data leak to Cambridge Analytica as well as to others.

One new platform being developed in Europe and designed to be fully compliant with the European privacy laws is called Openbook. The venture is backed by security and privacy experts including Philip Zimmermann, who created PGP, the most widely used email encryption software, and Jaya Baloo, chief information security officer for Dutch telecoms company KPN Telecom. The site will be “open source, zero tracking, zero spying, zero ads”, and give 30 per cent of its revenue to charitable causes.

Joel Hernandez, Openbook’s founder and chief executive, is a cyber security engineer who has wanted to create an alternative to Facebook for years. But he is acting now because of increasing awareness of the value of privacy.

Hernandez says Openbook will ensure its applications are transparent about what data they are collecting and that it will have an audit team to check up on developers. By using open-source software, anyone can examine how the platform is designed.

The platform will take advantage of the new data portability rules under the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation that allow European users to transfer their data from Facebook and Twitter.

Openbook is still in the planning and development stage; it is not yet available online. However, it seems to hold great promise for future privacy. You can read a lot more in an article by Hannah Kuchler in the Financial Times web site at: https://www.ft.com/content/fb5235e4-8564-11e8-96dd-fa565ec55929 and in the Inquirer at https://www.theinquirer.net/inquirer/news/3035956/openbook-is-like-facebook-but-without-all-the-digital-stealing.

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