Germany company Cliqz, which makes a privacy-focused browser of the same name, announced this morning that it has acquired popular anti-tracking and ad-blocking plugin Ghostery in an all-cash deal. A spokesperson for Cliqz, which is part-owned by Mozilla, said that the Ghostery plugin would continue to be available as a product for other browsers, but that the company hoped the acquisition would encourage users to try Cliqz.
“We want to use it to leverage internationalization and reach a larger user base,” Cliqz’s Thomas Konrad told The Verge. He added that the acquisition of Ghostery meant its data would move to German jurisdiction — a country known for its stringent data protection laws. “Basically Germany has much higher standards,” said Konrad. “It makes it more difficult for secret services to get a permit [to look at users’ data].”
Other tech companies have sought out the benefits of Germany consumer laws before. In November 2015, for example, Microsoft opened up new data centers in the country under the “data trustee” model (the centers are run by a Deutsche Telekom subsidiary).
Cliqz says it will be integrating some of Ghostery’s tech (and vice versa), but that its own browser offers a more advanced method of blocking trackers — bits of software that follow users around the web in order to build up a profile for advertisers. The German firm is not buying all of Ghostery, but just its browser extension and related assets. The rest of the firm, which focuses on digital marketing and governance, will be renamed Evidon (the company’s original title).