Mozilla acquires Anonym to improve privacy in advertising

19 Jun 2024

Image: © MichaelVi/

Silicon Valley start-up Anonym will now help Mozilla address an ‘urgent need’ for privacy-preserving advertising solutions.

Mozilla, the company that owns the Firefox web browser, has acquired adtech start-up Anonym to increase its focus on privacy in the online advertising space.

Based in Palo Alto, California, Anonym pitches itself as a privacy-preserving digital advertising company. It was founded in 2022 by former Meta executives Brad Smallwood and Graham Mudd and is backed by Griffin Gaming Partners, Norwest Venture Partners and Heracles Capital.

Anonym securely combines encrypted data sets from platforms and advertisers, enabling the scalable and privacy-safe measurement and optimisation of advertiser campaigns. This, it hopes, will lead to a shift towards more sustainable advertising.

Mozilla, which did not disclose the value of the acquisition, said that Anonym will “help raise the bar” for the advertising industry by ensuring user privacy while delivering advertising solutions.

“The online advertising industry is undergoing a significant transformation,” the company wrote in an announcement this week.

“With growing consumer concerns and increasing scrutiny from regulators, it’s evident that current data practices are excessive and unsustainable. We are at the forefront of a pivotal shift in how privacy and advertising coexist, reshaping the digital landscape for advertisers, platforms and consumers.”

Mozilla highlighted the fact that Anonym does not access any user-level data, nor do any advertisers or publishers using the technology. Analytics are also anonymised and special software called differential privacy algorithms add what Mozilla describes as “noise” to the data – protecting it from being traced back to individual users.

“This acquisition marks a significant step in addressing the urgent need for privacy-preserving advertising solutions,” Mozilla added. “By combining Mozilla’s scale and trusted reputation with Anonym’s cutting-edge technology, we can enhance user privacy and advertising effectiveness, levelling the playing field for all stakeholders.”

Earlier this year, Mitchell Baker stepped down as CEO of Mozilla after nearly four years in the role and 25 years at the company. She was replaced by board member Laura Chambers, who is now the interim CEO of the company.

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Vish Gain is a journalist with Silicon Republic