Unlike Big Tech, Parler Is Not in the Surveillance Business
Authored by Jeff Wernick
When Tim Berners-Lee invented the worldwide web, he described it as a social phenomenon, not a technical one. His vision was to connect people, universally, and to “… ensur[e] internet packets are delivered without commercial or political discrimination, and protect the privacy and freedom of web users regardless of where they live.” In other words, the web was designed not only to provide universal, global access, but to do so in a way that is censorship resistant and permissionless, while respecting data sovereignty.
Today, the internet is dominated by Facebook, Google and Twitter, companies which have completely and utterly perverted and destroyed the web as originally envisioned. They are surveillance companies. It’s easy to see that this core activity—surveillance—has singlehandedly made the web anything but social. Now, each person on the web is probed, subjected to dissection and analysis, mining every scrap of personal data for monetizable attributes and characteristics. We are no longer the beneficiaries of a tool which puts a world of information at our fingertips. We are now mere commodities, strip-mined of our personal data, dehumanized.
Imagine a place where there exists absolute freedom of connection, of association. A platform established with the understanding that if anyone were to monitor all activity, by all people, all the time, then that person could exercise control over everyone. And so rejected surveillance, on principle.
Imagine a universal public forum. A free and open town square, the digital analogue of Central Park. Free, universal, open access. People of all races, religions, ethnicities, countries of origin, ideologies, and political affiliations are welcome. All of those characteristics are utterly irrelevant. No gatekeeper.
Parler is the place which embraces these principles. Parler respects privacy, and so can rightly claim the title, social media. No addicting algorithms. No surveillance or data pillaging. No creating echo chambers by design. No viewpoint discrimination. Parler does not judge you. It does not pretend that its employees are omniscient and infallible fact-checkers, possessing perfect foresight, eminently qualified to root out “misinformation.” In other words, Parler does not pretend to be God.
The truth is that Facebook, Twitter and Google want the power to surveil, to dictate what content may appear on the internet—without any responsibility. They claim godlike, divine power to root out “hate speech” and “misinformation”, with both immunity and impunity. They deplatform, excommunicate, and digitally exterminate. And all the while they surveil. That surveillance is the cornerstone of their business model. Dehumanizing you is the cornerstone of their business model.
Parler is not in the surveillance business.
Disclosure: Jeff Wernick is an investor in Parler, as is Dan Bongino.