Do you think your online privacy is purely your responsibility? It’s an interesting question. Do you know if your domain or hosting provider protects your privacy from third parties? Sadly, we know the answer to this question. Most don’t go anywhere near far enough.
When it comes to Namecheap, we do things differently. We’ve got your back on privacy.
I asked our CEO, Rick Kirkendall, why he felt privacy was important to the technology industry and here at Namecheap. This is what he said.
“The right to privacy is at the core of a free and open internet. Without privacy and the protection it provides, the flow of ideas, and the ideals that empower the Internet and its users would cease to exist.”
He pointed out that Namecheap champions your digital privacy in ways you might not have considered or realized. Within the company, in legal advocacy, and through our support for privacy campaigners, we take privacy concerns seriously.
Kirkendall further explained what championing privacy means:
“It is through privacy that one is able to create without persecution; to stand up to the injustices of the world and fight for what’s right and what one believes in. We must always stand tall to protect this inalienable right. Without it, the Internet, the world, and the societies that democracy is built on will be ones filled and replaced with authoritarianism, repression, and dystopia.”
In this article, I will cover how much your privacy is built into Namecheap’s culture and activities and how deeply we care about it.
What is online privacy?
Online privacy is the amount of privacy an individual enjoys when connected to the Internet. You probably know how to take steps to protect personal privacy, like passwords and 2FA. But that’s not all you need.
Your Internet privacy is affected by what your devices collect. Data on your habits, shopping, and location is collected, distributed, and stored. Eventually, this data is shared by third parties. It’s nigh impossible to turn off every third-party tracking cookie, but you can try.
Third parties can access your data through any company you use online. It’s worrying because access to your physical address and your devices can lead to undeserved complaints about your content, phishing attacks, abuse, or trolling against you, your business or your website.
What you can do is dig a little deeper into what privacy protections your domain or hosting provider offers to ensure you won’t receive unwanted contact or marketing because you run a website.
On behalf of our customers, we believe in securing your online privacy. This includes your WHOIS data, your customer account information, and other information about the services you may use. Graham Wood, Director of Brand and Product Marketing at Namecheap told me:
“One thing we take great satisfaction from is receiving feedback from our customers who tell us that they choose us because of the privacy principles we stand for. We have a long history of defending everyone’s right to a free and open Internet, as well as the privacy rights of our customers. It’s truly a cornerstone of our brand identity.”
When your domain is registered with Namecheap, we go the extra mile and provide online privacy protection. We believe so strongly in this that uniquely, this service is free when you register any domain — whereas competitors of ours will charge you.
Namecheap advocacy – the highlights
Namecheap has long been an advocate for online privacy. When we receive requests from third parties for customer information, we don’t just hand over your details. Rather, we balance our responsibilities for online safety with protecting your online privacy by ensuring any requestor has met the appropriate legal standard for such requests. Recently, we were recognized for our pro-active COVID measures and partner regularly with US federal and state law enforcement, and international law enforcement.
Our advocacy for privacy includes helpful blogs and articles for our customers about what they can do to improve their online privacy. We carefully review new products and partnerships to ensure they meet privacy legislation requirements and our standards. We also care about the direction and standards for privacy online. To ensure legal protections continue for all, we go further.
- We support privacy organizations
- We advocate for robust privacy laws.
- We provide legal advocacy when we believe your privacy needs defending.
On this last point, I asked our Chief Operations Officer, Hillan Klein for his thoughts. He said:
“As a company we live and breathe customer privacy. We don’t just vocally support privacy and the right to due process, we have a long history of defending these rights in the courts, as well as educating our customers on how to best protect their personal data online.”
Our fellow privacy campaigners
Namecheap looks out for you by putting considerable resources behind privacy initiatives and funding fellow online privacy campaigners. Klein added:
“We continue to invest through donations and partnerships with nonprofits, the sharing of best practice information, informative content creation, and more — to steadfastly stress our belief in the importance of data privacy and a free and open Internet.”
European Center for Digital Rights (NOYB)
Renowned European data privacy enforcement organization, the European Center for Digital Rights (more commonly known as None of Your Business or NOYB), champions data privacy rights for individuals across Europe. For the first time, NOYB is supporting the privacy practices of a U.S. company (Namecheap) with their first U.S Federal Court filed Motion, as Kirkendall writes in the article European Center for Digital Rights Joins Privacy Fight.
I asked Jenn Suarez, Namecheap’s Data Protection Officer, to tell us more about the support from NOYB, an organization widely described as ‘privacy warriors’:
“Namecheap is proud of the standards we’ve enacted to support our customer’s privacy. We believe our standards meet and exceed those prescribed by law and embody what leading privacy advocates deem as necessary. So, when we learn that NOYB agrees that our privacy standards are aligned with what is required by GDPR—and that they filed a Motion to support our fight for privacy—it was confirmation that we are living our privacy values. Now more than ever, we remain committed to be on the frontline in any actions which threaten the online privacy of our customers and individuals in general.”
NOYB, has a long history of actively working to enforce privacy laws and educate consumers regarding their rights. Their enforcement actions include historical wins against global tech companies. To learn more about their current enforcement projects, check out: https://noyb.eu/en/projects.
Electronic Frontier Foundation
Electronic Frontier Foundation, the leading U.S. based nonprofit defending digital privacy, free speech, and innovation for 30 years, includes in its mission work to expose corporations who try to reduce individuals’ privacy rights. They, too, have stood with Namecheap against improper demands for customer information.
You’ll enjoy their insightful comments and knowledgeable weigh-ins on big tech and the possible end-games affecting small businesses. Try Facebook’s Laughable Campaign Against Apple is Really Against Users and Small Business for a taste of what they’re about.
Namecheap collaborates on a regular basis with EFF, too. We once blacked out our website to protest SOPA/PIPA regulations designed to stifle free speech. Our annual fundraising event, “Move Your Domain Day”, donates a percentage of new transfer fees to EFF. We also promote some of their activities and advocacy efforts.
Fight for the Future
Campaigning for net neutrality is critical for U.S. digital rights organization Fight for the Future. According to their website, this is “…the basic principle that no one can block our access to websites, throttle our Internet speeds, or impose unfair fees.” If you feel like becoming an activist and contributing to raising the profile around digital rights issues, this tribe of artists, engineers, and tech-types is for you.
You can read how Namecheap (a supporter of Fight for the Future) queried ICANN about unfair fees last February in How ICANN allowed more .com fees without consultation.
Our court fight to keep your data private
Right now, in U.S. Federal Court, Namecheap is defending a decision to keep customers’ data private. Given the issues that are the basis of this suit, we know that any decisions made by the court will impact technology companies worldwide, sending ripples around the world.
You can read more about why your privacy is worth fighting for in The Secret Fight For Your Personal Information.
Privacy case law
We’re watching cases in the technology sector with interest.
Is your IP address private information?
Making its way through the U.S. Supreme Court is Frank vs. Gaos (and defendants including Google). This case discusses whether an IP address is a piece of identity that can cause harm when communicated in a packet header during search activity. The case is one to watch for landmark rulings about privacy and search engine monitoring.
Can big tech be anti-competitive?
The anti-competition lawsuit filed in 2020 by the Federal Trade Commission and 46 U.S. state’s attorney generals against Facebook is big news for big tech. Discussions on the Android Central Podcast (sponsored by Namecheap) in The Vessel Through Which the Power is Flowing, Dec 2020 is lively. The panel questions how private your individual data remains when another company takes over your platform. Putting the case under the microscope, topics include Facebook takeovers, and when a taken over company starts to strongly resemble Facebook. Is it anti-competitive? Hmmm.
If you don’t have time to listen, enjoy these short reads on Androidcentral.com.
- Facebook could be forced to give up Instagram and WhatsApp in a new lawsuit.
- Google’s latest AI ethics controversy is a product of its own hubris — even if it enforced the rules.
What are Namecheap’s privacy standards?
As you’ve discovered in this article, Namecheap takes your privacy very seriously. But what about in-house? Suarez talked with me about how we approach privacy.
“Privacy is embedded in the DNA of our brand. From day one, Namecheap has set out to make sure that we have your back when it comes to online security and privacy. All our products are built with privacy by design. We conduct research and testing to meet or exceed industry security, online safety and privacy standards. Additionally, we only work with partners and affiliates that share our highest expectations regarding Internet privacy and security.”
Here’s a quick tour.
When it comes to your online privacy, we only track browsing on our site purely to improve your experience on our website. When we use third party tools to understand browsing and technical issues, the information that is shared is unidentifiable. In short, we don’t sell your information or profit from it.
We often chat/interact with customers on social media or our website. Our people do this to improve our customer service or the product. Our internal guidelines ensure that your information and what we know about it stays in-house and protected.
We provide you with the privacy details specific to each of our products. You can see what additional information is collected and whether any information is shared with third parties. As you can see, in Details for Specific Products and Services, we carefully design and choose products that have minimal to no third party sharing.
We follow the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) for customers who reside in Europe and very similar policies for processing data in the United States, the United Kingdom, and elsewhere.
We go further and promote responsible data handling to other technology companies across the world. Our goal? To keep online information private wherever possible for everyone.
Privacy is a priority at Namecheap
You might not realize part of keeping everyone safe is ensuring their personal information is not prey to unwanted malicious actors, stateside intrusion, or data-hungry corporations. We act when we believe your privacy is being infringed or your website’s security is at risk.
Our Chief Technical Officer, Sergii Smirnov, explained how privacy is at the forefront of Namecheap’s design choices.
“As many people know, privacy is one of the pillars of rights we protect on behalf of our customers, and it is a massive deal for us. At the same time, for Namecheap, customers always come first.
Therefore, we are continuously at work to build new, and improve existing, products to make them easier, faster, and simpler to use for our customers.”
Let’s take a look at how this works.
PremiumDNS is a product designed to keep out those who would steal from you or your website users by compromising your Domain Name Server (DNS).
In an industry first, we offer 100% uptime. PremiumDNS stops attacks (particularly on e-commerce) that take advantage of security gaps when a site is down. We go further to apply global DNS Security (DNSSEC) protocols to prevent what are now commonplace hacking attempts on DNS services around the world.
With the rising popularity of VPN services, we designed a VPN that works across all your devices for one low price plan. Namecheap’s new VPN service protects your privacy on public Wi-Fi networks. To give you ultimate freedom browsing the Internet, this VPN changes your virtual location and also allows you to select a location. You can keep sensitive data hidden from unwanted tracking cookies. This review by VPN labs goes into more great features.
Namecheap applies innovation and careful planning to ensure privacy is built-in to our products. Smirnov stated:
“You can’t expose data you don’t have or data you have destroyed or scrambled in such a way that it cannot be reversed. We build privacy into every product we create because it allows us to find a sweet spot between “easy to use” and “privacy secure” without running unnecessary risks to our customers’ privacy and experience.”
We also provide free two-factor authentication for your Namecheap account to help you add an extra layer of personal security for device privacy.
SSL certificates are a popular requirement of any website wanting to keep information private online. Known by the HTTPs present in the URL and the padlock symbol, certificates are a simple way to win customer trust and keep their data safe from browser hacking. Rather than sell you something you don’t need, Namecheap provides excellent information on the minimum you’ll need to spend on SSL. With Namecheap, privacy isn’t just a choice; it’s an informed, affordable choice.
Privacy and domains
Of course, domains are our main business, and we’re the world’s second-largest domain registrar. We believe our growth and popularity as a company is due to our privacy values. In practice, this means when you buy or transfer in a domain with Namecheap, your free privacy protection means you won’t be spammed. No more unwanted marketing and advertising.
When you are on a paid email plan, one of the most common benefits is the removal of all advertising. However, suppose the company you choose makes income from a profit model linked to advertising. In that case, you can never be sure that they don’t feed your data into the algorithms that optimize ad placement for others.
We show our commitment to your privacy when we design our products. Smirnov explained:
“As we collect and process data, we inevitably risk accumulating data we need to be careful about handling. As technology advances in machine learning and big data, privacy threats increase because more data types are present than ever before. As the hunt for data is customer experience-driven, this connection means there are ever-increasing privacy risks. This is why it is important to build products with privacy at the core.”
With Namecheap’s Private Email, our competitive advantage is we guarantee that you control your data, plain and simple. Your privacy and desire for ad-free emails align with our business goals.
We’ve got you covered
If you’re with Namecheap, you can rest assured we have your back on privacy. Online privacy is easily secured, but expensive to ensure. Namecheap invests in privacy. We secure your privacy and protect and defend you from corporations hungry for your data.
At Namecheap, our policy is to champion your rights to Internet freedom, net neutrality, and online privacy. We believe everyone has the right to privacy and hassle-free browsing.
Our customers include large corporations to individual bloggers, artists, and entrepreneurs. If you are with Namecheap or considering becoming a customer, take a look at our affordable top-line security today, and secure your online privacy with us.
Namecheap champions privacy standards .