Zoho has blocked third-party sites on its website to stop adjunct surveillance. This includes removing options to share on social media sites or analysing website visitor data using third-party services. Zoho had to develop its own tools in some cases, but believes that the cost of doing that was worth it.
Surveillance companies, which rely heavily on showing ads to survive, collect user information even from adjunct properties without user’s permission. B2B companies use products and services from surveillance companies in exchange for their users’ data. Earlier this year, Zoho had decided not to follow this industry practice and started eliminating third-party trackers and cookies.
Raju Vegesna, Chief Evangelist, Zoho, said, “Currently, data privacy is our top concern. We are noticing a trend today, where companies don’t think much before embedding services that are essentially trojan horses masquerading as free services that spy on users. We refer to this as “adjunct surveillance.” We strongly condone this practice and took a stance to entirely block third-party companies across all our properties. This may not be a financially sound decision, but morally this is right decision and we are proud of this. Financial profitability doesn’t mean anything if we are morally bankrupt. We hope other vendors follow us on this path. The pendulum of surveillance has swung too far. It is important to swing the other direction to protect user privacy. We make a simple promise to our customers: We don’t own your data, you do. We will never sell your data. We will never show you ads in our products.”