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On July 4th, 1776 two major events went down in America’s history. First, Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence -- a statement proclaiming total severance from Great Britain. This was essentially the American Colonies saying they’d had enough of Great Britain’s overbearing reign, taxation and policies. And second, as a direct result of this formal “See you later, Alligator”, the United States was born.

This day came to be known as the Fourth of July, or more traditionally, Independence Day (not to be confused with the epic sci-fi movie starring Will Smith). By the way, if you happen to be in the United States during “the fourth”, you’ll probably see or hear at least one of the following: spectacular fireworks displays, lavish parades, concerts, parties, gatherings of friends and families, and of course... barbecues. Yum! But wait… there’s just one more thing. You’ll definitely see an abundance of patriotic imagery, such as American flags and other items displaying the national colors (red, white and blue). What you won’t see is a mass invasion of space aliens hellbent on destroying the human race. ...But I digress.

Another thing about Independence Day which resonates not just with Americans, but with people of all nations, is that it represents a very important concept -- the concept of freedom from oppression and exploitation. As a company with team members hailing from all over the world, and whose mission is rooted in protecting the privacy of our customers from things like data collection and ISP snooping, Tenta keeps this concept of “freedom” in mind. Always.

So with that said -- and fueled by the excitement that the Fourth of July brings -- I abruptly reached out to a few Tenta colleagues, begging them to share their personal thoughts on the topic of freedom, independence, and the future of the Internet. They were more than happy to oblige.

Freedom, Independence and the Internet: Tenta Team Members Chime In!

Hi, guys! Thanks for joining us today. Please introduce yourselves to our readership and let them know your key role here at Tenta.

My name is Judit Nagy. Presently, my tasks are testing and localization.

My name is Ridvan Karatas, and I'm DevOps at Tenta.

I’m Barna Csukas, a software developer here at Tenta. I fancy myself as a jack of all trades, and unfortunately a master of none.

My name is Nikky and I’m in charge of Tenta’s customer support.

I’m Nick! Currently I'm working on iOS for Tenta.

What does freedom and independence mean to you?

Judit: On a personal level, I think many people associate freedom with happiness, but I think it also involves a great deal of responsibility. In societies dominated by consumerism, freedom of choice is claimed to liberate people. In reality, however, most people are often not equipped with the skills and knowledge to make some decisions, or prepared to handle the results of their choices (as in the case of vaccinations). As far as I’m concerned, the most important prerequisites of freedom are access to information, freedom of thought and speech. Freedom to act in any way one wants is just an illusion, unless individuals do have a thorough understanding of the issue in question and its ramifications.

My views on independence might not be popular. I think we overemphasize independence to the detriment of fostering a healthy interdependence on a personal, societal and global level. Many of our problems are caused by focusing on the needs and desires of the individual and as a result, personal relationships, economic and political relations suffer. Without acknowledging and properly addressing how closely related we are, the future seems pretty bleak to me.

Ridvan: I have a motto about this, "to be free, being independent is essential, but not every individual is free because they are independent."

Barna: Freedom and independence in my everyday life means something that I take for granted, something my forefathers have fought hard with real will and duty. Freedom and independence in developed countries in the sense in which we celebrate them on our respective national day are artifacts from the past. In the other sense, the digital world which has yet to fight its turmoils, freedom is just a concept, an ideal.

Nikky: There are so many different types of freedom, and I believe they’re all equally important. Freedom of speech, freedom of belief, freedom of the press, etc. The freedom to information and the freedom from oppression are two things I strongly believe should be afforded to every individual, both as a citizen, and as a woman in this digital age.

Nick: To me freedom and independence are the ability to make my own choices. Where I want to live, what I want to eat, how I want to raise my daughter. Freedom in how I learn, and most importantly, freedom is how I access and HAVE access to information.

Do you think the Internet has made us more free/independent. And what's the biggest problem we currently face online?

Judit: The Internet has given us unprecedented tools to manage and enrich our lives, and by doing so has made us more dependent than ever. In my opinion, the greatest problem is that humans received a wide array of tools without a comprehensive manual on how to use these tools in the best way possible. We can solve everyday problems more efficiently with online banking or by having constant access to GPS. On the other hand, we have a very limited understanding of the ways in which all this technology affects us on a psychological level.

Ridvan: I do. The main reason is to have freedom to receive information. People don't need to follow on old-school information sources such as press or TVs.

Barna: Free maybe. Connected and more informed definitely... but also more easily disoriented and misinformed perhaps. Independent not by a long shot. This is the main problem we face online: we depend on structures whose sole responsibility is not to serve us, but rather to give the illusion of servitude in order to further their agenda (increase profits) which is a perfectly okay capitalist phenomenon. We, as in the people, must change their views about the digital world and be able to formulate educated decisions about what service/provider we choose to depend upon.

Nikky: I believe the Internet has made people more independent, although, I don’t think it’s without sacrifice. We are free to explore the web, but our searches and data are being compromised. One of the biggest problems that I see almost daily is how many people don’t realize the extent that their activities are monitored online, or think that because they aren’t “doing anything wrong” they don’t need to be concerned about privacy.

Nick: I think the Internet has made us incredibly free. Free to learn, imagine, make friends, speak our minds, and so on. But unfortunately there are people and places that want to suffocate those freedoms. What’s so awesome about being part of Tenta is that we’re all committed to putting freedom back into the hands of our users.

What should the Internet look like? What do you think and hope it will look like in the future?

Judit: I think the Internet is a reflection of the world it was created in. I hope in the future there will be even more progress put to good use, instead of misinformation and manipulation for financial or political gain. Plus, we could always do with more kindness.

Ridvan: Currently, today's Internet is not free at all. There are countries that censor the Internet and they keep from people from the freedom to receive information. I do hope there will be no restrictions in the future.

Speaking about freedom and Internet, as in every aspect of life, freedom ends when someone else does injustice. Ergo, there is a red line between freedom and injustice.

Barna: Sincerely, I lack the knowledge of designing a perfect system used by so many people, good and bad actors alike. Many people have tried, and well, they haven't failed but there's room for improvement. I'd change essential services to be governed by non-profits, by legislation if necessary, or take oversight to extreme levels. I'd also encourage (vehemently) users to try other providers to balance out monopolies (it sounds easy, but it's really hard).

Nikky: Maybe more options for privacy. More citizens caring about their privacy and not assuming it’s only for people who have something to hide.

How is Tenta helping to preserve freedom and independence?

Judit: Users are often unknowingly coerced into providing personal information. Tenta offers access to information without having to sacrifice privacy. Besides having the chance to choose from a variety of options, freedom also means having the power to say no. I believe Tenta offers users agency by giving them control over their own personal data and the power to say no to entities who want to exploit them.

Ridvan: As Tenta, we do respect privacy and we believe every human being has the right to have the Internet without restrictions. Our business model supports that. We want every individual not to be a product on the Internet, but to use one.

Barna: Independence not so much since we are a provider of services our users depend upon. Freedom on the other hand, we preserve by removing that constant surveillance apparatus from over our users’ shoulders, which is not an immediate problem (and that is the reason why so many people don't care about it) like an earthquake or similar, but rather a constant nuisance which over time can culminate into a disaster.

Nikky: I think that originally, freedom was a relatively simpler concept. As we progress as a people, digitally and otherwise, the need for privacy is more important than ever. Something needs to be done to help make privacy more accessible for everyone, and I’m proud to be a part of a team that’s doing that.

Nick: The Tenta team is an amazing group of people from all kinds of backgrounds (which I think is one of our greatest strengths). From the ground up, we’ve been making strides towards ensuring that no matter where the information is or where you are in the world, you can get that information. As a Dad, knowing that my kid can grow up using a privacy browser like ours which gives her the freedom to learn whatever she wants is really amazing.

On the more practical side, I love Zones. It's one of the best things about Tenta. You can be anywhere in the world conveniently.

Nicely said, everyone! Thank you very much for allowing me to pull you away from work to pick your minds. It was a pleasure. If our readership out there would love to continue this discussion by chiming in with their own thoughts, we invite you to login to Tenta’s community portal and reply to this post’s thread. We hope to see you there!

Now, I don’t know about you, but all this talk about freedom and independence has made me really hungry! Does anyone know where I get the best barbecue in town and catch an awesome fireworks show? Happy 243rd birthday, Uncle Sam!

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About Jon

Tech enthusiast, insta-ramen expert, and music lover. When Jon isn't evangelizing Tenta Browser across social media, he enjoys learning new things about cyber security, and digital processing.

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