Gabriel Weinberg, the founder and CEO of privacy-based search engine DuckDuckGo, called for privacy legislation in the United States during a hearing on GDPR and CCPA before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Tuesday, explaining how it could create more competition and innovation.
During his testimony, Weinberg claimed “privacy legislation, like the GDPR and CCPA, is not only pro-consumer, but also pro-business, and pro-advertising.”
Weinberg then declared, “Privacy legislation is not anti-advertising. Take our business for example: When you type in a search on DuckDuckGo, we simply show you ads related to that search. If you search for ‘car’, we show you car ads. But those ads won’t follow you around, because we don’t know who you are, where you’ve been, or where you go. It’s contextual advertising versus behavioral advertising.”
“Consumers flock to brands they trust and respect, and according to Harris Poll, data privacy is the most pressing issue on Americans’ minds, now for two years in a row,” he continued, before adding that “well-drafted privacy legislation can spur more competition and innovation in one of the most foundational markets of the Internet: digital advertising.”
“This market is currently a duopoly, and this reality is hurting everyone from small businesses to venture-backed startups to media companies. To restore competition and innovation in this market, the data monopolies at its core need to be addressed,” Weinberg expressed. “Fixing this digital-ad-market duopoly can take any number of forms. Here are three suggestions. First, consumers could be given a robust mechanism to opt-out of online tracking. Second, monopoly platforms could be prohibited from combining data across their different business lines. Third, acquisitions that strengthen existing data monopolies could be blocked.”
A representative from Google, the chairman of Californians for Consumer Privacy, the director of security police at Intel, and others were also present during the hearing.
In October, it was reported that DuckDuckGo had reached 30 million searches on its engine per day, while earlier last year, Weinberg wrote an article for CNBC explaining why Google and Facebook have to be stopped from tracking everything their users do.