September 27, 2022
Data privacy laws have progressed in many ways over the past few years to adapt to the changing landscape of tech. There are precautionary measures of terms and conditions or cookie usage pop ups, but it doesn’t stop the news from being flooded with numerous stories of trusted companies like Tim Hortons stealing personal information. So, with a company like Surf where we reward you for your data it's a completely valid question to ask - Does Surf steal my data? The simple answer is no we don’t steal your data: but we do use data that you share with us. Everything is user opt-in and we have multiple ways to reassure our users that this data is not stolen.
Unlike your mom, we’re not gonna lie to you and say that you’re a special person - at least in terms of your data. The first thing we want you to understand is that Surf doesn’t find your individual data very valuable. In fact, when you sign up for Surf, we don’t even ask for your name, just your email and general location for confirmation. The data we do care about is your browsing data, which is collected once the extension is downloaded and works in the background. Even at this point, this data isn’t valuable to us until we anonymize and aggregate the data to see patterns, like “18-24 year-olds in Toronto visiting crocs.com.” We really have no value or interest in your individual data, and we certainly do not desire any personal data like your credit card or social security number.
It’s easy to explain how Surf collects this data but we also take the extra step to ensure that users have the most amount of transparency and comfort. When the Surf extension is downloaded you will have the option of pausing the extension where it will stop collecting the data - that is if you want extra privacy. For an added level of transparency, Surf users can see the number of points they have collected in a week but also the exact data they are sharing. Within 24 hours of visiting these websites, you can delete any browsing data you are not comfortable sharing with Surf.
The final stage of your data with Surf - and what allows you to earn your rewards - is selling this data to third party companies. Once this data is collected by Surf the main step for us is to make sure that your data stays safe and protected. The data we do collect is cohorted and anonymized to ensure that no data is ever traced back to the individual. The browsing data that you do end up sharing with Surf is data that you are already sharing with big tech companies. The difference is that they are profiting from it and giving you nothing, while we are compensating you for it!
As Surf works to allow users to be compensated for the data they are already sharing with big tech, the most important factor is allowing users to be comfortable with what they are sharing. Surf doesn’t steal data; we allow users to control exactly what they are sharing and when they are sharing this data. Surf is working towards the future of data privacy, letting users make their choice first. Our priority will always be working towards complete transparency and protection of all our users’ data. Finally, with the data shared we work to protect it to make sure no individual data is leaked.