Vivaldi CEO Claims Google Retaliated for Privacy Criticism

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Vivaldi CEO Jon von Tetzchner, the brains behind both the new Vivaldi browser and the early Opera browser, on Monday accused Google of retaliating against his company after he questioned its customer privacy practices.

Vivaldi’s Google Adwords campaigns mysteriously were suspended just two days after von Tetzchner’s criticisms of Google’s handling of customer data appeared in a Wired article this spring, he said.

Von Tetzchner had raised questions about both Google’s and Facebook’s data collection practices, lamenting the fact that too much personal information was being collected on ordinary consumers for use in targeted advertising based on individual browsing habits.

That was the second time that Google suspended Vivaldi’s AdWords campaign in 12 months, von Tetzchner told the E-Commerce Times.

After Vivaldi complained about the actions, the responses from Google were less than satisfying, he added.

“In both cases, when contacting Google, there has been no clarity why it happened or at least it seemed really hard for Google to explain,” von Tetzchner said. “The second time it happened two days after a series of interviews where I questioned the tracking practices of Google and Facebook and their use of the collected data.”

Friendship Cooled

The relationship between the two dates back many years to when von Tetzchner was CEO of Opera, which once enjoyed a close relationship with Google.

Opera was the first browser to have Google search integrated into its browser, according to von Tetzchner.

However, that relationship frayed over time, as Google moved closer to the Mozilla Foundation; launched Google Docs, which was incompatible with Opera; and eventually introduced its own Chrome browser.

The Vivaldi browser is based on Chromium, an open source…