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#1 2021-04-18 09:13:10


Re: Don't force your idea of privacy onto your users

Thanks so much Victor -- great thought and we really appreciate it!!  Here are some our thoughts and how they're evolving. 

With privacy, there's a wide range of options from somewhat private to quite private to extremely private, etc. and yes, there are trade-offs between convenience and privacy.  We've taken a lot of pains so that Epic provides both e.g. autocomplete in our address bar is based on not your history but a fixed database of common URLs.  There's no single way to do privacy. 

With Epic, we wanted to deliver a reasonable expectation of privacy for local privacy as well as freedom from surveillance.  In that way Epic would be a great daily use browser as well as an incognito browser that actually works. 

The chrome extension story used to be rife with extensions that were outright malicious or that sold your browsing history -- literally hundreds of them.  Google has gotten aggressive and removed them by the 100s.   

Given the changes, we are now considering allowing any extension from the Chrome webstore to run on Epic -- since that can be allowed with a reasonable expectation that your privacy won't be compromised (thought we still discourage it unless absolutely necessary). 

Now that cookies are being used less and less to track users, it's reasonable to allow some cookies particularly first-party cookies to persist even on close.  So we're also considering allowing users to change settings so that you can retain a browsing history and some cookies between sessions. 

Going forward as we see it then, it will be simple to keep settings so that Epic works as it currently does at a high level of privacy or to modify them for convenience to retain browsing history and install other extensions, for example.

In terms of search engines, we get a ton of requests to allow the so-called "private" search engines such as DuckDuckGo and StartPage.  To include them in Epic we have both an ethical and legal obligation to share their data privacy policies since they would be integrated into our product itself (i.e. part of Epic).  The problem is that neither of those two search engines will tell us what data they respectively send to their search partners Microsoft/Google, so that lack of transparency means we can't trust them and we would never ask you to trust them and can't legally include them in our product (since we can't validate their claims).  They ask us to "blindly" accept that they're private, but the problem is their sites don't match up to their claims -- if neither of them for example are sharing location data then how is are their ads highly localized? 

Another issue is that we contractually are restricted from supporting other default search engines at this point -- we will soon swap in a new private search engine from Yahoo which is actually transparent.  Note that there are just 3 global search engines, Google-based ones, Bing-based ones (like DuckDuckGo and Yahoo), and Yandex-based ones (like EpicSearch) currently users can choose between 2 of the 3 for default search.  We'd like to support Google-based ones and we used to have a private search partnership with Google but they cut us off and we believe all private search support. 

As always, please share your feedback on our plans and vision :-)!  Thank you for your support!!


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