The Electronic Frontier Foundation is April’s Charity of the Month!

The votes are in, and we’re excited to announce the EFF as our second Charity of the Month. They’ll be our sole charitable beneficiary during the month of April, and we’re proud to support the important work they do.

The EFF, founded in 1990, is a leading nonprofit organization defending civil liberties in the digital world. Their outstanding team of premier technologists, activists and attorneys works to defend free speech online, fight illegal surveillance, advocate for users and innovators, and support freedom-enhancing technologies.

Since 2005, the EFF has been spearheading the effort to curb the illegal surveillance of domestic communications and communications records, and they’re currently challenging the NSA and major telecommunications carriers in the courts.  The EFF has a vast global network of advocates and supporters, and there are many ways you can join or support their efforts.

As defenders of online freedom, the EFF shares Disconnect’s mission to allow users to use the internet freely and without worrying about being tracked by an outside organization. You can learn more about the nonprofits that we’ve nominated and vote for the Charity of the Month for May here.

Posted by Jessica Brodsky

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Disconnect Search is now faster and more secure!

On Monday, we launched a new version of Disconnect Search that is optimized for speed and security. Search results now load more than twice as fast as our previous version, and we’ve included enhanced security features, including support for the latest versions of Transport Layer Security (TLS), which allows for Perfect Forward Secrecy (PFS). This ensures that even if Disconnect’s private encryption keys are compromised, a user’s search history stays as private as possible.

Disconnect Search is now available for searching via a web interface, as an Android app, and for Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, and Safari desktop browsers.

If you haven’t seen it, check out our informative video below:

Posted by Jessica Brodsky

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Blackphone is here, and we’re on it!

Blackphone, the first smartphone specifically designed to protect user privacy, launched at Mobile World Congress last week. We couldn’t be happier that Disconnect Search (beta available now) will be the default search provider for Blackphone, and that the device will ship with a pre-installed version of our soon to be released Secure Wireless app, which is a smart VPN designed to let you keep your browsing and in-app activity safe, and to stop wireless eavesdropping over Wi-Fi, 3G, and 4G networks.

The Blackphone is being developed by SGP, a joint partnership between our friends at Silent Circle and Geeksphone. Blackphone’s PrivatOS, built on Android, will be combined with a full suite of privacy focused applications to offer users more control than any smartphone to date. In addition to Disconnect Search and Secure Wireless, the Blackphone ships with some great pre-installed privacy tools, including the Silent Circle suite of encryption apps – Silent Phone, Silent Text, and Silent Contacts – and secure cloud file storage from the amazing team at SpiderOak.

The Blackphone costs $629 and is available for pre-order as an unlocked device. The Disconnect team got their hands on a Blackphone prototype and we can’t wait to start using this ourselves!

Posted by Casey Oppenheim

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Center for Democracy and Technology is our first Charity of the Month

We’re pleased to announce that the CDT has been voted Disconnect’s very first Charity of the Month! Throughout March the CDT will be the featured non-profit and sole charitable beneficiary on our payment page and we’ll be promoting the important work they do.

Founded in 1994, the CDT is a non-profit with a mission to keep the Internet open, innovative and free. With an amazing staff of lawyers, technologists and policy makers, the CDT works to protect Internet privacy and limit government surveillance.

In the aftermath of leaked and declassified documents that have shed light on the NSA’s mass collection of communications data, the CDT has stepped up as a leading voice in the growing movement to protect our fundamental privacy and free expression rights. Their website is a great resource to learn more about online surveillance and how you can support their efforts.

As a certified public benefit B corporation, education is core to Disconnect’s mission. Our hope is that the Charity of the Month program will connect and inspire Disconnecters to get involved with great nonprofits like the CDT. You can learn more about and vote for the organizations we’ve nominated for the Charity of the Month for April here.

Posted by Casey Oppenheim

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Secure Wi-Fi: removed on desktop, coming soon to mobile

We’ve decided to retire the Secure Wi-Fi feature on our desktop browser extensions and shift our focus to a new Secure Wi-Fi product for mobile that we’ll be launching soon.

When we released our desktop Secure Wi-Fi feature in 2012, major sites like Facebook, Google, Twitter, and Yahoo! hadn’t implemented HTTPS by default across their websites. This presented a security risk for users—especially on Wi-Fi. Our desktop feature forced HTTPS on those and other popular sites.

Since then, many of these popular websites have made HTTPS the default. We’re excited that these companies took this step and feel proud to have been a part of the movement to get them to do so.

In addition to popular sites offering better HTTPS support, our decision to drop the feature was made easier because HTTPS Everywhere – a tool created by the  EFF and the TOR project – has gotten really awesome!

We’re looking forward to sharing more details about our Secure Wi-Fi mobile solution in the near future!

 

Posted by Casey Oppenheim

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Join us in celebrating Data Privacy Day & vote for Disconnect’s Charity of the Month

Did you know that today is Data Privacy Day?

Held every January 28th, the goal of Data Privacy Day is to educate and empower people to protect their privacy and control their digital footprint.

 As a Certified B Corporation, Disconnect shares that important mission of helping people better understand and control their personal information online, which is why we proudly signed on as an official Data Privacy Day “champion.”

It’s also why we encourage our users to dedicate a portion of their contributions to non-profit organizations like ProPublica and Fight for the Future as part of our pay-what-you-want progam. And, in honor of Data Privacy Day, we’re excited to announce a new way for you to support charities that work on digital privacy issues.

 Starting today, you can vote for your favorite pro-privacy charity to be chosen as Disconnect’s Charity of the Month. That charity will become the featured organization on our payment page.

 Thanks to contributions by the Disconnect community, we’ve raised tens of thousands of dollars for charities in the last several months and this new approach will enable you to decide which non-profits should receive those funds.

 Vote for and support pro-privacy charities:

  • Vote as often as you’d like, and share the link with your friends on social media.

  • At the end of each month, we’ll tally the votes and announce the Charity of the Month. The first selection will be announced February 28th.

  • When anyone installs the Disconnect browser extension to block third-party trackers or Disconnect Search to keep search queries private, they’ll be able to donate a portion of their pay-what-you-want contribution to the Charity of the Month.

  • Existing users can also go straight to the Support Disconnect page to make a contribution.

We look forward to your votes for the Charity of the Month!

 

For more info on Data Privacy Day and how you can better control your digital footprint, visit http://www.staysafeonline.org/data-privacy-day/ and follow us on Twitter at @disconnectme. The hashtag for Data Privacy Day is #DPD2014.

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Meeting with White House officials to improve online privacy

On December 5th, we participated in a nationwide Day of Action to help get 100,000 signatures on a White House petition to reform the outdated Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA). We’re thrilled to report that the 100,000-signature threshold was surpassed, which means that President Obama will need to issue an official response to the petition.

In addition, Disconnect founding member Gus Warren participated in an important meeting with White House officials this week to call on the Obama Administration to support ECPA reform by requiring the US government to get a warrant before accessing an individual’s email or other cloud data.

Organized by the Digital Due Process coalition that we are a member of, the White House meeting featured representatives from leading nonprofit advocacy groups like ACLU and CDT, as well as major Internet companies like Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. While there is growing bipartisan support for ECPA reform legislation in Congress, the coalition is opposed to a loophole that would weaken the bill by allowing federal regulatory agencies like the SEC and IRS to access personal data without a warrant.

As the only startup in attendance, and the only privacy-focused company, Disconnect was honored to have the opportunity to represent the over 1 million people who are part of the Disconnect community. We’re optimistic about the chances that the White House will support this much-needed policy reform, and we’re determined to keep fighting for online privacy.

Keep reading our blog for more updates, and remember to connect with us on Twitter and Facebook.

 

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Day of Action to Demand Privacy Reform

Our mission is to help individuals understand and control how their data is used online. We believe everyone has a right to freely move about the Internet without anyone snooping on their personal information, which is why we’ve created products to keep your browsing and searches private.

We also think it’s important that laws support this freedom, so we’re proud to join the nationwide day of action to call for reform of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA).

ECPA is a U.S. law that says the government can access your email and documents in the cloud without a warrant. This is one of the Internet’s most outdated laws—it was enacted in 1986, when many people had no access to a home computer or email.

 

Bills to reform ECPA have gained huge support in recent months from both parties in Congress. However, legislation is now being blocked by a federal agency that is pushing for a loophole to get your documents from online providers without a warrant.

That’s why we’re joining with other organizations and companies in calling on the White House to stand up for ECPA reform.

Please join us by signing this petition to the White House. We only need 100,000 signatures!

 

Posted by Team Disconnect

 

Day of action participating organizations

Access

ACLU

Americans for Tax Reform

American Library Association

Application Developers Alliance

Bill of Rights Defense Committee

Center for Democracy & Technology

Center for Financial Privacy and Human Rights

Cheezburger Network

Demand Progress

Disconnect

Electronic Frontier Foundation

Engine Advocacy

Facebook

Fight for the Future

Free Press Action Fund

FreedomWorks

Generation Opportunity

Google

HP

The Internet Association

Internet Infrastructure Coalition

NY Tech Meetup

Open Technology Institute

Public Knowledge

reddit

R Street

SpiderOak

Techdirt

TechFreedom

Tumblr

Twitter

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Disconnect named one of the best innovations of 2013 by Popular Science

As part of its 26th annual Best of What’s New awards, Popular Science has selected Disconnect as one of the top 100 innovations of the year in the software category! The award is a great honor and we appreciate being acknowledged for our efforts to give Internet users more control over their personal data.

 

If you haven’t installed the Disconnect extension yet, it’s available here for the Chrome, Firefox, Safari and Opera browsers. In addition to filtering over 2,000 third-party tracking and malware sites, it encrypts the data you share with popular sites and makes pages load faster while using less bandwidth. Plus, it’s pay-what-you-want software so that means you get to decide how much to spend on it.

 

You can learn more about the award here. Or, check out Disconnect in the print edition of Popular Science (it’s the December 2013 issue) on page 72.

 

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Disconnect Search lets you search privately using your favorite search engine

One month ago today, we launched Disconnect Search. Since then, our private search service has been used by over 50,000 people and has anonymized almost 3 million search queries!

Disconnect Search allows you to easily keep searches private without having to change your normal behavior. Unlike other private search solutions, we designed Disconnect Search so you can continue to use the web’s most popular search engines, including Google, Bing, Yahoo, and DuckDuckGo. Our technology also lets you conduct private searches seamlessly through your browser’s omnibox or address bar.

Based on user feedback over the last month, we’ve made a number of big improvements to Disconnect Search, such as enabling private use of advanced search features like image and map search.

You can install and learn more about Disconnect Search on our site.

Posted by Casey Oppenheim

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