Brutus is currently 10% product, 90% dream. This leaves a lot of questions for users around what Brutus is trying to become, what it will do to get there, and what Brutus stands for. For you to decide whether or not Brutus’ ambition is something you want to support I owe you answers.
Many people have asked me Brutus’ stance on privacy and data protection are. “What are you doing with my data and the data Brutus’ collects?” In short, nothing. Or, to be more precise, nothing beyond what is necessary to deliver the service Brutus provides to people – showing you local activities related to the webpage you’re on.
We’re not tracking your online behavior (even to “improve your experience”).
We’re not selling or sharing your data with third parties.
We’re not monetizing your data.
Currently Brutus is a free service as we work to make it better serve you. When we shift to making money, we do not intend to pursue an advertisement based model that requires us to monetize your data. We believe that your data is yours and you should have control over and be the primary benefactor of how it is used.
We built Brutus in response to the ways we believe monetization of our data and ad based models have ruined the internet. We hate banner and pop-up ads. We are driven nuts by products that stalk us all over the internet. We think a “free” internet model based on vacuuming up user data to better hi-jack our attention is not the right way.
Brutus wants to offer an online experience built for users – an experience that provides value, that helps you live your intentions, that gets you closer to the life you want to be living. Foundational for us is respect for your time, privacy, and data.
How Brutus works
The Brutus extension sits in the background of your browsers waiting to be activated by you clicking the B icon. When activated, Brutus scans the text of the page you’re on and identifies keywords. The keywords are then compared to Brutus’ database of experiences. Experiences with keywords that match your page are then presented to you in the Brutus pop-out window.
When you added the Brutus Chrome Extension you may have noticed the message
“It can: Read and change all your data on the websites you visit”.
This message is concerning to some people. Breaking this down. Brutus “reads and change all your data…” only when you activate Brutus by clicking the B icon. “Reading your data” is Brutus scanning the text on the page for keywords. “Changing your data” is the B icon shown on the side of your page and the Brutus pop-out window. That’s it.
A few points to clarify:
Brutus only access the data on webpages when you launch Brutus by clicking the B icon. You choose each time Brutus accesses data on the page you’re visiting by clicking the B icon. We explored automatically scanning every page so the Brutus pop-out window would load faster. Ultimately we decided you making an active choice each time Brutus accessed your browsing data was more important than increased loading speeds.
We store the URL of the last 500 websites visited by all Brutus users. This speeds load times if a particular page is getting a lot of traction across our users or if you activate Brutus multiple times on the same page as you’re reading. This data is anonymized and URLs are not linked to the user who opened the webpage.
We have a lot more work we want to do on privacy and keeping your data yours. Brutus is very early stage and there are many things we want to do in the future, but do not have the resources to do yet. One of these things is building a data system optimized for user control. We are in consultation with some of the world’s leading minds on privacy from IAB Europe. They have provided us guidance not just on legally required practices, but best practices. We are committed to implementing the highest standards for protecting your data and privacy as our user base expands and we have the team to build the infrastructure.
We appreciate your understanding and support. We want to do the right thing because we want to be part of building the new future for technology that respects people first and foremost. Thank you.