Privacy services that have sold out or abandoned what made them private

Startpage.com & Startmail.com

Sold to an advertising company System1. Placed under a subcompany called Privacy One Group. Very vague on this entity, even in their own AMA on their own subreddit.

Official press release: https://www.startpage.com/blog/company-updates/startpage-and-privacy-one-group/


Wire Messenger (wire.com)

Sneakily sold to a US entity. No announcement, PR spin or anything. Very suspicious.

Article: https://www.kuketz-blog.de/wire-messenger-zu-100-von-einer-us-holding-uebernommen/


Snips (snips.ai)

Sold to Sonos.

Official press release: https://investors.sonos.com/news-and-events/investor-news/latest-news/2019/Sonos-Announces-Acquisition-of-Snips/default.aspx


Private Internet Access (privateinternetaccess.com)

Sold to Kape Technologies (owner of Cyberghost). No official press release yet 2019-11-22

Article: https://www.techradar.com/news/cyberghost-owner-buys-pia-for-dollar955m-to-create-vpn-giant


Lastpass (lastpass.com)  

I don't think anyone really considered this a privacy service since it was acquired by Logmein (please checkout Bitwarden). If you did then It has been acquired by a private equity firm, so definitely stop using it now. 

Article: https://www.ghacks.net/2019/12/18/logmein-lastpass-to-be-acquired-by-private-equity-firms/


Qwant (qwant.com)

This is very much still pending but it is concerning.

Article: https://techcrunch.com/2020/01/09/pro-privacy-search-engine-qwant-announces-more-exec-changes-to-switch-focus-to-monetization/


Keybase (keybase.io)

Sold out to Zoom. Zoom is terrible, but as of now it is still open source and if you only use it for your public keys, this does not seem like a big deal.

Official press release: https://keybase.io/blog/keybase-joins-zoom


Brave Browser

Brave got caught hijacking links to insert referral codes. This just goes to show you that even privacy enthusiasts can get into terrible group think that ignores logic. To think of all the people in privacy communities who have been illogically defending Brave this last year. 

Expose: https://davidgerard.co.uk/blockchain/2020/06/06/the-brave-web-browser-is-hijacking-links-and-inserting-affiliate-codes/


DNS.watch

Very concerning, seems like DNS.watch has gone to the dark side.

Investigation: https://old.reddit.com/r/privacy/comments/hcspcy/dnswatch_was_taken_over_by_an_unknown_party_in/


Updated 2020-06-21

Document created 2019-11-22