Info-tech

Protecting user privacy has always been part of Zoho’s DNA: CEO

Our Bureau Chennai | Updated on July 08, 2021

Sridhar Vembu   -  Bijoy Ghosh

Tracking users morally not acceptable: Sridhar Vembu

Protecting user privacy has always been part of Zoho’s DNA. The company’s promise to customers is simple - “We don’t own your data, you do; We will never sell your data and we will never do advertisements,” said Sridhar Vembu, CEO, Zoho, while speaking on the topic ‘Why is privacy not just a legal obligation but an ethical choice’. It was an internal conversation organised by Zoho.

Advertisements, surveillance and privacy do not mix. Even with Zoho’s free products, the company never considered ads, he said.

Zoho took an important stance in 2020 by blocking adjunct surveillance to protect the privacy of users. What this meant was that users were being tracked in apps and users are paying for free services with their data. Surveillance companies are gathering information about users’ data from adjunct property without their permission. Many deals between companies are done without users’ permission.

“Even though such tracking is acceptable in many jurisdictions, we did not find it morally acceptable. We will not be part of this industry practice and have decided to stop all third-party trackers on our website completely,” he said.

“We are not going to let surveillance companies track users on our properties. We removed Facebook (No like buttons or share options on our properties); Twitter (no tweet buttons on our properties), Google (no analytics, no Tag Manager) and we removed trackers from all ad companies,” he said.

“We had to develop several tools internally. When you remove all the trackers, we lose money and there is a cost to do this. But, it’s totally worth the sacrifice,” he said. Zoho does not run on public clouds, so they cannot track our users’ behaviour and data, he added.

"We encouraged the B2B industry to follow our lead in protecting user privacy. Choose Privacy. Choose Zoho," said Vembu.

Published on July 07, 2021

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