I’ve been using an adblocker for the last 9+ years. The internet is simply too filled up with annoying ads to not do it. Your browsing experience, privacy and security will be severely impacted by annoying pop-ups and flashy banners.
After discovering browser plugins that can block ads, I’ve dived deeper into blocking scripts and 3rd party trackers for security and privacy purposes.
Thus, ending up using over 3 browsing plugins, DNS filtering and web-content filtering from the local antivirus installed to block disruptive and malicious content. It became a massive overhead just to try to fight back.
Then I discover Brave, a Chromium-based browser that has has many of my needs already built-in :
- an ad blocker (replacing my need for uBlock Origin)
- a script blocker
- a cross-site tracker blocker (replacing my need for Privacy Badger)
- a cross-site cookie blocker
- a cross-device recognition blocker
- a HTTPS only switch, that forces all connections from HTTP to HTTPS (replacing my need for HTTPS Everywhere)
- a TOR extension enabling browsing on TOR (replacing my need to use a separate TOR browser )
Looking deeper into the Brave background, I can see it’s much more than a browser with some privacy or security focused plugins embedded into it.
Publishers are rewarded when ads featuring their content are viewed.
Users can opt-in to receive ads (yes, users will not receive ads by default). Users also receive a share of the publishers reward. In turn, users can then use their share to donate to publishers directly
The Ads Problem
The problem right now is that we have an inefficient ads ecosystem that hurts users, publishers and advertisers because of the middlemen, malicious attackers and humans never ending desire for more (profit).
Combine easy accessibility to peoples attention (daily browsing) with human beings tendency to be greedy (push more ads, so we can get more revenue or more exposure or more conversion or more whathever) and you end up with todays’ internet.
Cluttered, slow, all-over-the-place and ready to obtain as much personal data about you as possible while getting your device infected without you ever knowing.
1 in every 100 ads impression is malicious , meaning that for every 100 ads that you’re seeing while browsing online, 1 of them may get your device infected
There are 9 trackers on each website and 33 tracking requests per page spying on you, on average. Most of these requests are related to ads.
Your Attention, Money, Time and Privacy
Our attention is much more valuable than we think. Attention can be explained as “focused mental engagement” . It is constantly shifted all over the place in todays’ digital world where advertisers and businesses are fighting for every second of it, hoping that it will lead to a new sale.
We actually pay for our attention to be carried away. We pay in various forms. With money, by buying something. With time, by giving it away to answer questions in a survey. With our privacy, by giving our personal details to receive a “free” ebook.
Instead of getting payed for directing our attention where we want to, we willing pay for it to be taken away. This is because we simply do not value our attention enough and we do not see it as a currency, as greatly explained in this article on seeing attention as currency.
The BasicAttentionToken and the Brave browser bring together a system that changes that.
A digitized and transparent ad exchange system based on the blockchain. It may sound complicated but it’s much simpler in its essence and it easily addresses major concerns about the current ads ecosystem and it’s impact on privacy. It’s creator describes very well in the video below.
Basic Attention Token from Brave on Vimeo.
As a regular end user, Brave simplified my web-browsing experience while protecting my privacy. Reason why I switched the default browser on all of my devices and other people’s devices that I manage to Brave.
As an Information Security and Privacy professional, Brave reduced the overhead of of maintaining a secure/private enough configuration across my devices (installing various plugins, disabling certain features). It also reduced the risk of malicious plugins – In case one of the browse plugin that I regularly use gets compromised, this can potentially affect all my browsing activity. The risk now transferred to Brave, but since the project is open-source and of an online advertising paradigm-shift, I feel pretty confident in using Brave.
As a publisher, I’d rather be a part of the BasicAttentionToken and Brave system than to support the already broken ads ecosystem out there.
Nothing left to say than to try it for yourself by downloading the Brave browser and experiencing speed and privacy bundled together with no need to fiddle around.