We believe "free" should in fact mean free. We offer an experience without price tags or invisible privacy tags. We are glad to have you with us in the reclamation of our personal privacy and online property.
We Be less We without You.
Private people in public spaces have long been aware of how much of themselves they expose to others in those public spaces. When we enter crowded corners, we comprehend how visible we are. Conversely, in secluded spaces, we understand how invisible we are. With a little inate self-awareness, we can confidently conduct ourselves accordingly. Our social norms grow out of this public negotiation and our reasonable expectation of privacy.
It is increasingly suggested that personal privacy no longer exists, that all of our lives are now freely available online and outside. Thus, it is futile to fight for something that has long since left us. We disagree.
True, it is unlikely that there exists a space where all is private. In the United States, Fourth Amendment guidelines carve out some constitutional protection, underlining the importance of privacy to the fabric of citizenship. Yet, there are limits to even this constitutional coverage. Courts continue to squeeze this protection against the most personal of places, like the heart of the home. Consequently, the application endures greater scrutiny when connections to the outside world are made, such as through phone conversations or non-enclosed airspace. The arguement resting, in part, on the reasonable expectation of privacy. Technological advances like wire-tapping and aircraft surveilance now make it possible to be more easily spied upon. Thus, one's right of privacy has increasingly been married by a court of law to an ever-changing state of technology. So, yes, it is unlinkely to find a space where all is private from the state, and perhaps truer still that such a place does not exist when the state is replaced by a private entity. However, we believe it is equally unlikely that there exists a space where all is public. And until there is such a space, living by the theory that all are equally exposed and thus, equally protected, is a fallacy and a dangerous supposition to live by.
Those with greater resources are afforded greater power. This is the case with privacy as well, whether by paying companies to cover one's tracks online, or by sheer power of authority and social capital, such as the reports of Google CEO Eric Schmidt attempting to conceal his political donations from search results.
As privacy and technology remain linked, privacy exists not as a static right, but one which a citizenry must work to claim and reclaim. This reclamation is not only essential in instances of state action, but should be equally valued when private entities seek control over the personal information of citizens.
We generally understand our public interaction when we go to the grocery store and, therefore, can largely agree upon what we reasonably expect can be private in that space. We know some things in our shopping cart are visible to others. We might not grab the 5-gallon tub of ice cream from the freezer section because of the looks we could get at the checkout line--okay, maybe those of us on a budget might have an affinity for bulk, but we probably pass on the second tub.
Advances in technology have afforded us modern conveniences. While many of us still buy our ice cream at the grocery store, we do far less other shopping in person. Advertisements welcome us to shop in our pajamas from the convenience of our homes and an internet connection.
But, as technology bridges our communities together, it physically links our homes as well. This is not necessarily a bad thing, as long as we can trust our neighbors next door. Unfortunately, what it means, though, is that our neighbor next door is no longer just on the other side of the fence, but in an office building across the country as well. And we are lined in a neatly sectioned grid to be harvested for information.
That control is freedom. Our freedom as a public, in this instance, abutts the freedom of private business to exploit our lack of freedom for financial gain.
It is often posited in political debate that the people of a nation are its most valuable resource. So, data mining those people like gold or oil, unconscionably exploiting them as a resource for monetary gain without their explicit agreement is a New Age form of involuntary servitude. Fortunately, this exploited class is enfranchised to arm themselves with the necessary information, take a political stance, and reclaim their personal property.
Privacy as Property
Your private information is valuable. Companies like Google use this private information as a form of market research currency that they can both learn from and sell to other companies interested in what you are doing and viewing online. Often times, these companies are compulsively collecting this information without your express permission, exploiting you as a resource, while claiming to offer a "free" service. We believe "free" should actually mean free of all charges. Providing publicly available services, while willfully exploiting an unconsenting or ill-informed public is not a service "free" of charge. "Free" should mean free.
That's why We Be Free.
Welcome to our growing archive of useful information on the subject of online privacy. Here, one will find news articles, books, documentaries, and other such media works that speak to the issue. Please let us know if there is any additional informative work you would like to see here. Of course, as usual, be aware that all links to external sites may risk exposure of your identity.
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Other Resources on Protecting Your Privacy
Here you will find sources of information that may be useful in securing your identity online.
Feel free to browse around the space. And remember, all links to external sites may risk exposure of your identity.
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WeBeFree Search Plugin
If you want more of us in your life, you can add the WeBeFree Private Search Clustering Engine to your browser search bar. Just click the following link:
WeBeFree Virtual High Five
Need one? Wanna give one? We could always use another. Let's virtual high five, no install required. Just click the following link:
Our search is available at www.webefree.net in two flavors: The standard http protocol version; and the secured https version with SSL certification. For a detailed description on https connections, please see here. Please choose the version which better suits your needs.
There are some things to consider. First, because of the added steps necessary to secure the connection, SSL can slow the functionality of searching and browsing the internet. While we find this to be a worthwhile sacrifice in protecting personal privacy, we recognize others may not.
Also, both options lead to the same WeBeFree search architecture. So, you can be sure that we will neither track nor exploit your information and identity in any way, regardless of the connection you choose. The SSL is simply the layer on top of our mutual connection that guards from potential outsiders that may try such tactics.
WeBeFree.org uses a dedicated SSL certificate, registered to WeBeFree. The WeBeFree search is currently secured through fellow open-source contributor Red Hat. This allows us to provide the benefit of high-end security to our users in a cost-effective way. What this means, however, is that Red Hat's RHCloud is on the security certificate, and not WeBeFree.io. This does not degrade the security of your SSL connection, but it may require an extra step to approve the connection in your browser. If, when attempting to connect to https://www.webefree.net, you see a warning about the connection being untrusted, do not panic. Once you add us as an exception, you should be directed through to our secure search with the legitimate Red Hat SSL connection as planned.
If you are interested in our search through SSL, please see the link at the top of this secion.
We always welcome greater community involvement. If you have ideas that may benefit all of us, please consider contacting our outreach depatrment through the information provided here.
Maybe you like what we got going on, and just wanna sport some support, check the Storefront for all the latest WeBeFree merchandise.
As a free and open service, we must remain conscious of fundraising. This is especially true for us, since we do not exploit the private information of our users to turn a profit from a "free" service. We believe in equal pay for equal work, but realize that sometimes working idealistically requires working a little harder for compensation. If you value any of what you've found here with us, and would like to contribute financially in some way, please check our contribution section here.
Thank you for your interest. WeBe under construction here, but coming soon.
Thank you for your interest. WeBe under construction here, but coming soon.
If you have any questions, concerns, or suggestions for us, please feel free to contact our outreach department at the following secure address:
Of course, our correspondence with you will only be as secure as the weakest link in the chain. So, if privacy is a concern, you may wish to check your current email environment. Some helpful information on the subject can be found here.
This is who WeBe.